Limit repetitive-stress injuries

DN Staff

February 21, 2000

2 Min Read
Limit repetitive-stress injuries

With the proliferation of the Windows graphical user interface and 3D CAD workstations, workload on the engineer's mouse hand has tripled in the last decade. "Ergonomic consultants estimate that a typical engineer performs a minimum of 50% more mouse clicks and large mouse movements than an average office worker," says Joyce Ouellette, senior VP at Labtec (Lowell, MA). "And 15-30% of engineers report some kind of repetitive-stress related pain."

Symmetrical designs can't be optimized for both right and left hand ergonomics.

That's why Labtec's 3D Motion Control Group (formerly Spacetec IMC Corp.) designed the fourth generation Spaceball 4000 FLX (based on patented PowerSensor opto-mechanical force and torque sensor technology) from the ground up. The design team included 3D professionals from over 80 companies around the globe, and an industrial design firm. In addition ergonomic design specialists provided continuous quantitative and qualitative ergonomic analysis throughout every phase of the design process. Result: the only 3D input device designed and tested to surpass industry ergonomic standards.

Spaceball 4000 FLX lends a hand to design engineers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) constitute the largest number of job-related injuries and illness problems in the United States. Consequently, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), proposed rules late last year that will, if approved, compose the most significant worker safety law of the last decade. The proposal is OSHA's first formal attempt to do what some employers already have done: Establish programs that limit employee exposure to working conditions that could contribute to MSD's--injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and the spine. These include back pain, carpal-tunnel syndrome, and tendinitis.

As the world changes, jobs change and so do the types of work-related injuries. So why shouldn't an engineer whose wrist could be crippled by repetitive stress related injuries rate the same on-the-job safety protection as a coal miner or steelworker?

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