The Ergonomics Of Motion

After taking into consideration all the working, viewing and sitting height requirements it becomes important to also consider the horizontal plane.

The best-laid human factors plan can be led astray if the way a worker moves isn't taken into account.

A terminal operator does not only have a computer or terminal to aid him in his work. In addition, he has the usual personal items he needs and equipment such as telephone, printer, calculator, handbooks, manuals, source documents, etc. All these necessary aids require adequate space at the workstation and they must be placed in such a way that the operator can work with efficiency and comfortable movements.

The immediate space surrounding an operator can be zoned into two work areas. The Inner Zone is that half-circle within reach when the upper arm is close to the body. The Outer Zone is bounded by the maximum reach when the arm is fully extended.

Equipment and documents should be placed within the inner zone whenever possible. If the main function of the workstation is terminal work, the work space within the area should be arranged to suit that function - the display unit and the keyboard should he directly in front of the operator.

If the workstation also has to accomodate "regular" desk work or if the terminal work demands that there be space for necessary source documents, it can at times be difficult to create a functional workstation. It is therefore very important to make an accurate analysis of each work detail, actions and time required. From this analysis it will be easier to arrive at a clear understanding and indication of the correct placement of the different work aids and their space requirements as well as a logical, functional relationship between them and to each other.

With the help of a complete workstation analysis - where for example the storage requirements have also been considered - it can be decided exactly how the terminal work station should look in order to ease the workload. The solution is easier to arrive at if one is critical, has patience, and relies on a good analyst. This will result in a more congenial atmosphere, lower number of sick days, less personnel turnover and higher effectivity.

The conclusion is rather fundamental: to be sure that a terminal workstation functions as intended, it must be adapted to each individual and his work requirements. The various units need to be designed so that each separate terminal workstation can be constructed precisely to suit the operator and his task.