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How to fit the work to the operator.

Smith MJ
Ergonomics Committee and Non-Ionizing Radiation Committee of the American Industrial Hygiene Association 1982 Mar:119-127
Work stress in video display terminal (VDT) operators (SIC-7374) is discussed. VDT operators suffer from visual disturbances, muscular complaints, mood disturbances, psychosomatic symptoms, and psychosocial disturbances. Four basic accentuation points are considered in an ergonomic approach to improving the work situation of VDT operators: physical work environment, the extent of use of the terminal, the type of activities or tasks that are undertaken, and the psychological loads imposed on the operator. These accentuation points provide a basis for looking at four areas of health issues related to VDT work: the visual load, the muscular load, the postural load, and the emotional stress load. For data entry jobs (in which most of the time is spent looking at hard copy and viewing the VDT screen is only secondary), interventions to improve the work situation include providing good quality hard copy and high illumination to reduce visual stress, providing a wrist rest, and providing an adaptable work station to permit adjustment for individual postural requirements. For data acquisition workers such as telephone operators and air traffic controllers who spend most of their time reading from the screen, general work area illumination needs to be lower than that used in data entry environments, and screen height needs to be adjustable. Word processing requirements vary with the tasks being performed. For interactive type VDT operators, such as computer programmers and reservation clerks, good screen characteristics and an adjustable chair are important. In some applications, a document holder is needed. Work pace, work load, the degree of intellectual stimulation, and supervisory and peer interaction factors affect the psychosocial stress of VDT workers. The author concludes that the particular loads imposed in the individual work environment should define the intervention strategy to be used to improve the work situation.
Computer-equipment; Office-equipment; Equipment-operators; Job-stress; Job-analysis; Work-analysis; Task-performance; Quantitative-analysis; Humans; Equipment-design;
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Ergonomics Committee and Non-Ionizing Radiation Committee of the American Industrial Hygiene Association
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division