Cornell University Ergonomics Web

Ergonomic Workspace Analysis

by Richard Porter and Michele Segal

Submitted May 16, 1997 to Dr. Alan Hedge in partial fulfillment of the requirement for completion of DEA 6700: Applied Ergonomics, Spring 1997.

Posture analysis Intervention Alternate layouts Conclusions


This study sought to discover whether simple ergonomic interventions can have a significant impact on muscular pain in office workers. An office worker's environment was investigated for opportunities for physical improvements that would reduce pain that the worker suffers as a result of a shoulder injury. Also, improvement of productivity and work flow as they relate to the physical environment were considered. RULA analysis of posture and subjective response to interviews and questionnaires, before and after interventions, were measured. Intervention consisted of installing two negative slope keyboard systems and reconfiguring the layout of the existing cubicle to decrease the distance between the two computer systems in use. Also, alternate office layouts were produced. One of the keyboard systems was outfitted with a mouse tray attachment, the other included an integral touchpad in the wrist-rest of the tray. Both keyboard systems included document holder attachments and held extended keyboards. RULA analysis indicated a decrease in the severity of risk of musculoskeletal injury following intervention. Improvements were noted especially during mouse use and source document handling. Subjective assessment of interventions revealed that the office worker was more satisfied with the new work environment and felt significantly less pain related to her shoulder injury, though problems were reported in becoming accustomed to the touchpad mouse.


Posture analysis Intervention Alternate layouts Conclusions

This page created by
Michele Segal ( and Richard Porter(
Last modified May 16, 1997