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Preferred Settings in VDT Work: The Zuerich Experience.

Laeubli T
Work with Display Units 86, International Scientific Conference on Work with Display Units, Stockholm, Sweden, May 12-15, 1986 1987:249-262
Optimal designs for video display terminal (VDT) workstations were discussed. Laboratory and field studies conducted in Zurich, Switzerland, aimed at developing guidelines for VDT workstations were reviewed. Questionnaire surveys of ten occupational groups showed that musculoskeletal discomfort was the most frequent complaint, the highest incidence of complaints occurring in jobs that involved repetitive work on keyboards. A detailed analysis showed that the frequency of arm pains was related to the number of daily key strokes. Medical examination showed that the musculoskeletal discomfort was directly related to one sided loads, repetitive movements, and constrained postures. Studies of bank tellers working with VDTs indicated that they tended to recline the upper body with upper arms stretched slightly forward. The subjects frequently rested their forearms or hands on the table or the frame of the keyboard. Laboratory studies using fully adjustable VDT workstations were conducted to determine the preferred postures and settings. Preferred keyboard levels were higher than those usually recommended and were only partly related to body length. Posture at the preferred setting was characterized by a slightly reclined or upright position with the upper arms slightly extended and abducted sidewards. The preferred viewing distance varied from 53 to 80 centimeters. The preferred settings were nearly the same regardless of whether a hand or forearm support or document holder was used. An experimental split keyboard was developed that provided a more natural posture. The author concludes that musculoskeletal disorders are a common problem in VDT operators and office workers. They are primarily the result of one sided loads, repetitive movements, and constrained positions. Preferred settings for VDT workstations differ significantly from recommended settings.
Epidemiology; Laboratory-testing; Video-display-terminals; Office-workers; Workplace-studies; Ergonomics; Keyboard-operators; Biomechanics; Occupational-health; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders;
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings;
Knave B; Wideback G;
Fiscal Year
Priority Area
Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Upper Extremities; Disease and Injury; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders;
Source Name
Work with Display Units 86, International Scientific Conference on Work with Display Units, Stockholm, Sweden, May 12-15, 1986
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division