Different computer tasks affect the exposure of the upper extremity to biomechanical risk factors.
Ergonomics 2006 Jan; 49(1):45-61
In order to determine differences in biomechanical risk factors across computer tasks, a repeated measures laboratory experiment was completed with 30 touch-typing adults (15 females and 15 males). The participants completed five different computer tasks: typing text, completing an html-based form with text fields, editing text within a document, sorting and resizing objects in a graphics task and browsing and navigating a series of intranet web pages. Electrogoniometers and inclinometers measured wrist and upper arm postures, surface electromyography measured muscle activity of four forearm muscles and three shoulder muscles and a force platform under the keyboard and force-sensing computer mouse measured applied forces. Keyboard-intensive tasks were associated with less neutral wrist postures, larger wrist velocities and accelerations and larger dynamic forearm muscle activity. Mouse-intensive tasks (graphics and intranet web page browsing) were associated with less neutral shoulder postures and less variability in forearm muscle activity. Tasks containing a mixture of mouse and keyboard use (form completion and text editing) were associated with higher shoulder muscle activity, larger range of motion and larger velocities and accelerations of the upper arm. Comparing different types of computer work demonstrates that mouse use is prevalent in most computer tasks and is associated with more constrained and non-neutral postures of the wrist and shoulder compared to keyboarding.
Risk-factors; Biomechanics; Laboratory-testing; Posture; Muscles; Office-workers; Office-equipment; Computers; Computer-equipment; Computer-software; Occupational-exposure; Humans; Ergonomics;
Author Keywords: Office; Task analysis; Upper extremity; Computer
Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts