Oct 30, 2013

Share Button

Ergonomic Keyboards

Ergonomic KeyboardsRepetitive strain injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome has been linked to the use of keyboards, typing and jobs that require the employee to be on their computer all throughout the day. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), these injuries are the nation’s most common and costly occupational health problem, affecting hundreds of thousands of Americans in the workforce. Not only does it affect many individuals, but it also costs more than $20 billion a year in workers compensation.

In industries and careers that require typing and computer use, it seems it would be much more cost-effective for employers to invest in ergonomic keyboards and accessories for employees to utilize during work. By implementing these accessible tools, it would appear that these astounding statistics would decrease over time.

Ergonomic Keyboards

Ergonomic keyboards are important for those employees who do significant amounts of work on the computer or writing. Nurses, engineers, data entry specialists and many other workforce employees spend many hours a day using a keyboard and mouse to perform daily tasks. Long periods of time spent typing can cause wrist injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome. If these issues are not addressed, the symptoms for carpal tunnel syndrome may progress and eventually require surgical interventions. Not only must the wrists and hands be considered, but also the neck, back and shoulders of each employee.

These specially designed keyboards are helpful in maintaining good hand and wrist posture while typing. There are many styles and sizes available, giving the individual choices tailored to their specific needs. The “split keyboard” is shaped in a gentle curve to support the natural shape of the hands and wrists. Also, the “mini keyboard” is effective in that it pulls the keys closer together, eliminating the need to strain the hands and fingers to reach for a key on the keyboard.

When considering purchasing an ergonomic keyboard, certain key features must be taken into consideration. These are included below:

  •  Angling of the Keyboard – Ergonomic keyboards are specifically known for their distinguishing features and angle designs. The typical keyboard is straight and flat, forcing the hands and wrists to bend in an unnatural way for long periods of time. Ergonomic keyboards include different levels of angles, including wave-like designs to help keep wrists straight and to encourage natural movement of the hands while typing.
  • Adjustability – This is an important feature to consider with the ergonomic keyboards. Adjustable keyboards allow the users to position each part of the keyboard at the desired angle to best suit his or her needs.
  • Wrist Support – Most ergonomic keyboards incorporate wrist-rests for comfort and convenience. Wrist supports are helpful when the hands become tired from typing, and allow the user to rest and relax, alleviating any pressure.

In conclusion, an ergonomic keyboard is vital for the future health employees who spend many hours of the day at a computer. With this type of keyboard, the user will be able to protect their hands and wrists from the dangers of repetitive strain. This will then lead to a healthier work environment and productive workplace.

Share Button

  • Diamond Grant

    I have heard of ergonomic keyboards in the past, but have been skeptical. I just wasn’t sure if they really worked because I know very few people who use them. Mostly everyone I know uses laptops, and that type of keyboard is not an option in that case. However, since I do use my desktop computer often (being that I work from home), investing in an ergonomic keyboard may very well be worth it. It could end up sparing me a lot of trouble down the line.

    • Joy

      At home I use my laptop, but at work I use a desktop. The school I work at switched over to ergonomic keyboards and I have seen an improvement in my discomfort while using them at work. At home of course I still face somewhat of a challenge, but when I take break and use exercise I feel a lot better. If you are thinking of purchasing one I think it would be worth the expense.

    • Rachel B

      I am impressed that your school made the leap to switch to ergonomic keyboards. What a nice employer! I hope that is a huge benefit to the staff’s overall health, and I think it would be wise for other employers to follow suit. It will probably save the employer money from health benefits too.

  • Stephanie Schneider

    In this day and age, more and more office jobs are being created. The ergonomic keyboard is really something that needs to be offered by office employers as a work perk and as a way of investing in the employees’ health. As someone who does spend most of her days typing, I think I could really benefit from one of these.

  • Rebecca

    After reading this, I was finally convinced to invest in an ergonomic keyboard. I do a lot of typing at work everyday so after time, I developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I am happily typing on my new ergonomic keyboard right now and it really has helped. For everyone out there that is contemplating whether it will make a difference or not, trust me, it does!

    • Jerry

      Interesting, Rebecca! How long have you been using the ergonomic keyboard? Did it make a difference right away, or did it take some time before you noticed it helping? What kind did you order? Was it hard to adjust to using one? I am looking into it! I hope to hear back soon.

    • Rebecca

      I actually only got one about three weeks ago after first reading this article. The first couple days took a little bit of adjustment but after then I began to feel a lot of relief. Since I type a lot for work, an ergonomic keyboard substantially helps me now. As for which one I’m using, I honestly just typed in “Ergonomic Keyboard” on Amazon and bought the first one! It’s a great keyboard though and I would highly recommend it.

  • Jerry

    Thanks for outlining the key considerations when buying an ergonomic keyboard. It is always good to know what you need to look for before making a purchase. I would like to test out a few kinds to see what angles and wrist supports are right for me. I was shocked to hear that this condition costs more than $20 billion a year in worker’s comp!

  • Rachel B

    Much like the cane being a great Christmas gift for grandparents, I think this ergonomic keyboard would make a great gift for anyone you know who works in an office. It can definitely be a mood booster in the workplace if it alleviates pain someone is feeling. And even if they aren’t feeling pain now, it helps them in the long run.

    • Reese

      That’s a really good idea. I have several people on my list who could benefit from an ergonomic keyboard — and who really do not need a cane at this time in their lives. I will have to check with them to see if they already have this kind of keyboard — if not, holiday shopping is done!

    • Michele

      I’d be extremely excited if I received one of these as a gift! They’d even make a great gift for friends and family who spend a lot of time at computers even if they do not currently have wrist issues. A great preventative measure!

    • Kevin C.

      So very true! I know plenty of people who could benefit from these ergonomic keyboards. Like you said, it could help alleviate carpal tunnel symptoms now or prevent them from occurring the in near future. An all around great gift that would keep on giving and be useful every single day.

  • jem1997

    Ergonmic keyboards take some getting used to! I used one at my old job and did experience a “learning curve” as my hands and arms adjusted to a new way of doing things. When I moved to my current position, I experienced some pangs of ergonomic keyboard withdrawal as I went back to the old style keyboard! My best advice to anyone wanting to make the switch is: once you make the change to ergonomics, stick with it for several days and let your muscles adapt. You will not regret the decision!

    • Kellie

      Interesting — I did not have any trouble adjusting to an ergonomic keyboard at all, but that could be because the IT technician who got it for me really knew what he was doing and knew how much I was tied to the computer. I would definitely recommend trying several different keyboards if you have the opportunity to do that.

    • PB and Running Shoes

      That is what I was wondering if they take some time to get used to. The curve seems like it may be something very different at first!

  • NurseEJ

    From a clinician’s point of view, I would highly recommend getting an ergonomic keyboard if you spend more than an hour or two at the computer each day. In conjunction with wearing wrist braces, this might be all you need to prevent the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome.

    • Michele

      I’ve used one of these keyboards a few times and really noticed a difference.

    • Julia

      I completely agree. I spend 8 hours a day at a keyboard unfortunately for my job and I bought an ergonomic keyboard for home and at work and I have seen a huge difference. In addition to just the keyboard though, I constantly take short breaks and make up excuses to take short walks to get my circulation going and to stop typing for a couple minutes. Has helped me so much!

  • Michele

    I’d love to have one of these at work. I spend way to much time in front of a computer on a daily basis.

  • PB and Running Shoes

    This would make a great Christmas gift! I know so many people who spend too much time in front of the computer at work (and at home), I’d love to have one of these myself as well.

  • Julia

    I just have to say, I love my ergonomic keyboard! I couldn’t tell you the brand or the model off hand as I am on my laptop, using it’s uncomfortable keyboard, but it was well worth the small investment. Buying a keyboard is much more realistic than having to pay for surgery down the line. You must have very little common sense if you don’t see that.

  • Sarah Jo Coryell

    I had a bit of trouble adjusting to my ergonomic keyboard when I first got it- but now that I have been using it for a while I absolutely love it! It has really helped alleviate some of my carpal tunnel symptoms and makes it where i do not need my brace as much as I had just a few months ago!

    • Kevin C.

      My wife needed to use these when she was making up lesson plans for her classes and when she had to be on the computer for long periods of time. It took her some time to get used to it too but she said she saw a big improvement in her carpal tunnel and that the ergonomic keyboard really did help!

    • Sarah Jo Coryell

      If she continues to use on all the time- even at home- she will see even more improvement. I had one ordered for me at work and it helped relieve my carpal tunnel symptoms some at work but I was still having issues at home until i got one for myself. I am writing this comment on my ergonomic keyboard!

  • Patrick M.

    As an IT professional I spend a lot of time at the computer when I am working. Our company ordered these ergonomic keyboards for all of us about a year ago, It took some getting used to but man do they help! I still end up wearing my wrist brace at times but it is no where near as bad as it was before we started using the ergonomic keyboards!

  • Czar Ketty

    Workers’ disability from typing too much!? I suppose I deserve it but my boss would just tell me to get a wrist brace, which I’ve already done! I think I can at least get one of these keyboards out of him thought, if there is a reliable body of data out there to support me.

  • Harvind S

    I have never used an ergonomic keyboard but I can attest to the importance of keeping an eye out for avoidable work-related injuries and conditions. We too often neglect our bodies in the work place and I don’t know why. I am fortunate to be in an office that has workstations with adjustable heights, allowing me to stand periodically throughout the day while I’m at my computer. Even if you don’t have a setup like this in your office, I recommend using a homemade solution to allow you to work on your feet. There are benefits to posture and circulation.

    • Herb

      My coworker sits in a chair that is basically a balance ball or stability ball or something. It is on wheels and has the same type of back support as a normal chair. She let me try and I just could not get comfortable. Maybe a few more situps each day and I’ll be ready? She says her back and neck feel much stronger and less sore since she’s started using the chair.