In the past, business owners were most concerned about on-the-job injuries that involved manufacturing and heavy lifting requirements.
But in the information age, computers have become a ubiquitous feature of the workplace and repetitive stress injuries now rank among the most common hazards.
To combat repetitive stress injuries, manufacturers have designed ergonomic keyboards for a more natural typing experience. Although these keyboards take some getting used to, they can significantly decrease the amount of strain on users' hands and wrists.
Ergonomic keyboards may not be necessary for everyone in your office. But for employees who engage in high volumes of typing, they can alleviate workplace pain and minimize the downtime that is lost to repetitive stress and carpal tunnel ailments.
Repetitive stress injuries (RSI) are the result of the unnatural wrist positions that are required to type on traditional keyboards. When the wrist is bent to accommodate the demands of the keyboard, the nerve that runs through the wrist becomes inflamed and damaged, causing carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand/wrist disorders. Once the damage has been done, it can be very difficult for the wrist to ever return to full function. Workers who suffer from RSI typically experience a higher number of sick days to allow time for their wrists to heal.
Ergonomic Keyboard Designs
Ergonomic keyboards limit the amount of wear on wrists, dramatically reducing the amount of nerve damage that happens during the normal course of business. They are available in a full range of products with prices varying from the highly affordable to the super expensive.
- High-end ergonomic keyboard products. At the top end of the spectrum are keyboards that offer multidirectional versatility. These keyboards often consist of two pieces that allow you to adjust the horizontal plane and tilt to whatever angle is most comfortable for your wrists. Although they are expensive, they are an effective option for severe RSI sufferers.
- Mid-level ergonomic keyboard products. Midlevel products force the users hands and wrists into the proper position and give the user programmable options for either QWERTY or Dvorak layouts.
- Base-level ergonomic keyboard products. The simplest and most widespread ergonomic keyboards are single piece units with the keys divided into two, angled sections that accommodate a more natural wrist position. You won't have to spend an arm and a leg for these models, but they will provide much-needed relief for the average office employee.