Ergonomics Working Group

Computer Workstation Assessment, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wiesbaden, Germany

Army Corps of Engineers Europe District requested an ergonomic assessment of video display terminal (VDT) workstations at the Amelia Earhart Center, Wiesbaden, Germany. The purpose of the assessment was to ensure Army Corps of Engineers Europe District complied with all requirements identified in European Economic Community (EEC) Directive 90/270/EEC of 29 May 1990.

An ergonomics team from the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine evaluated 220 VDT workstations during the period 04-18 February 2002.

Many of the desks in use at the time of the assessment were purchased before the proliferation of mouse-driven software and, therefore, were not designed specifically for mouse use. Risk factors, such as awkward postures, repetitive motions, and mechanical stresses (sharp corners or edges on desks) were evident at most of the workstations. These risk factors can lead to fatigue, discomfort, or pain among the workers with the more severe cases leading to a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WMSD) such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

The evaluation team identified specific ergonomic hazards attributable to the design of the workstations. Below are the team’s primary findings and recommended solutions.

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