Letter to the editor

The picture you ran illustrating a story on new ergonomics guidelines ["Hill divided on ergo plan," FCW, April 29] also illustrates, perhaps ironically, a source of the problems: The keyboard is too high and the monitor too low.

The cramped hand position shown looks like an invitation to carpel tunnel syndrome. Lots of designers will then compound the problem by adding a wrist "rest" that adds pressure on the wrist during rest periods. The low-set small monitor might also lead to muscle and disk problems in the neck, unless writing and e-mail reading are both done near the top of the screen.

Whether in voluntary guidelines or in safety standards, recommendations ought to be based on up-to-date medical data, not the familiar designs, processes and products contributing to chronic injuries common among information workers today.

These are my opinions, of course, not NASA's.

Bob Knox
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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