Ergonomic requirements for computer input devices (BGIA Report 3/2008e)
Abstract: Intense work on computers and the associated use of various input devices may lead to disorders in the musculoskeletal system of the hand, arm, shoulder and/or neck, particularly in individuals already suffering from painful disorders of the upper extremities which have other causes. In this case, ergonomically designed input devices are intended to reduce the exposure to stresses and to prevent further disorders associated with their use. Although standards exist containing requirements for these devices, their provisions are in some cases formulated in general, descriptive terms with no quantifying data. It is therefore difficult to derive specific recommendations from them. For this reason, the VBG (institution for statutory accident insurance and prevention in the administrative sector) has launched a literature study in order to gather current knowledge on the ergonomic design of input devices and on testing of them against biomechanical and physiological criteria. A comprehensive survey of the international literature yielded results for keyboards, mice, trackballs, styli and tablets, and hand/arm rests. In addition, a checklist was drawn up for keyboards and mice in consideration of biomechanical and physiological criteria. Should disorders arise, it provides assistance in the ergonomic assessment and improvement of the workplace for selection of the input devices.