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VDT Workstation Adjustability: Effects on Worker Posture, Productivity, and Health Complaints.

Pustinger C; Dainoff MJ; Smith M
Trends in Ergonomics/Human Factors II 1985:445-451
The effect of adjustability of a video display terminal workstation (VDT) was investigated with respect to task performance, subjective health complaints and body movement. Twelve women and two men typed manuscript text for 3 hours without a break on consecutive days, one day at an "adjustable" and one day at a "fixed" workstation, with seven subjects tested with each condition each day. The station had an adjustable terminal stand and chair with backrest, pneumatically assisted seat height adjustment and an adjustable lumbar supporting backrest. In the adjustable condition subjects were instructed on how to adjust the terminal stand and chair. In the fixed condition the configuration was standardized and no adjustments were to be made. The subject's posture during the work period was recorded on videotape. Postural changes were analyzed using a scoring system. Furniture adjustments during the work period were also recorded and analyzed. The total number of episodes of motion was significantly greater in the fixed than the adjustable condition. Health complaints, from responses to checklists given before and after the work period, indicated greater mean difference scores (after versus before work) in the fixed condition than the adjustable condition. No significant differences in productivity, evaluated for speed and accuracy, were found for the two conditions. There was a significant, large, negative correlation between keystrokes per minute and total motion episodes, and between motion episodes and complaints relating to lower back pain. The authors conclude that when the workstation is adjustable the subjects perform better in terms of fewer health complaints and fewer episodes of motion that could be attributed to adverse loads on the musculoskeletal systems.
Humans; Office-equipment; Ergonomics; Body-mechanics; Video-display-terminals; Task-performance; Skeletal-movement; Office-workers; Work-performance;
Publication Date
Eberts RE; Eberts CG;
Fiscal Year
Source Name
Trends in Ergonomics/Human Factors II
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division