OPC’s consultants ask How Keyboard Trays CAUSE Ergonomic Hazards

 In keeping with OPC Inc’s mandate to ONLY use ergonomic standards which are based on best evidence Jane Sleeth responds to a consultants question about the use of KEYBOARD trays.
This is in addtion to a previous Blog about the subject. Our clients will also benefit in reading these Blogs so they understand when where trays have a place in the office but only based on objective, quantified criterion
OPC and our consultants only recommend keyboard trays when;
1. A person is <5th percentile female height
2. >95th percentile male stature
3. Desk depth is not enough to allow correct distance between the eyes and the monitor(s)
4. The employee works in their wheelchair  at the workstations and requires an adjustable worksurface to accommodate the chair
5. The employee has a bona fide “hot disc” and is required to stand for periods of time during the day to relieve the intradiscal loads at the L Spine.

Keyboard trays are found in the literature and in our studies at OPC to;
  • increase reach distances to items on the desk;
  • increase visual distances to items and paperwork on the desk;
  • decrease leg room under the keyboard tray;
  • increase forces required to move the tray in and out of the desk.
As well the use of trays tends to result in;
  • increased loads at the carpal tunnels of the wrists in particular when padding is present on the trays;
  • increase reach distances to the  mouse (most manufacturers make the trays with an additional mouse section added which increases reach distances anywhere from 1 to 3”).
  • trays which allow for altered angles of work cause employees to place the trays into wrist angles which are outside of norms.

For all of these objective reasons, at OPC we only recommend trays in the standardized scenarios above. We provide education to our clients so they also understand this and are able to apply these principals to their internal standards. This prevents employees from asking for these devices when they are not indicated or from employees using physician notes with statements such as “patient requires an ergonomic keyboard tray”.

Please leave your comments and/or suggestions below.


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