"Your IT job can compromise your comfort and even lead to injury or chronic physical problems. Deb Shinder offers this rundown of conditions to watch out for, along with some recommended ergonomic workarounds.
It’s relatively easy to find information about how to make the workplace more ergonomic for the typical computer user. But IT pros aren’t typical, and creating an ergonomically friendly environment in the server room is a bit more challenging.
Ergonomics refers to the science of designing a workplace or other environment to minimize discomfort and fatigue and, by so doing, maximize productivity. The most high-profile ergonomics issue is probably that of repetitive stress injuries (RSIs). The most famous (or infamous) variety of RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome, although according to some medical experts, other types of RSI are actually more common in computer users.
However, there is much more to ergonomics than the avoidance of hand and arm pain. In this article, we’ll look at some ways you can incorporate good ergonomic principles into the equipment you use and the way you perform the tasks of an IT pro, and thus avoid the associated health risks.
Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.
Are ergonomic keyboards necessary for the servers?
Unlike data entry workers, secretarial personnel, and some other users, an IT pro’s job doesn’t usually consist of continuously typing large amounts of text for hours on end. Thus, ergonomic keyboards may not be as essential in the server room as at the desks of those types of users. However, some people are more sensitive than others to arm/wrist/hand (or even neck) injuries from holding your hands in an unnatural position.
If you’re one of those people and/or if you find yourself at the keyboard for long periods without a break, an ergo keyboard can save you a lot of grief. There are many types, ranging from the commonplace slightly contoured models, like the Microsoft Natural Elite, to specialized (and expensive) models that split completely into two or three adjustable parts. See examples at the Adaptive Technology for Information and Computing at MIT Web site.
The good news is that you probably don’t need to buy multiple ergo keyboards for the server room. Multiple servers can share via a KVM switch. For a more modern solution, you can run multiple servers in VMs on one physical machine or use terminal services/remote desktop or other remote control software to access the desktops of multiple servers from your primary workstation." (Continued via TechRepublic.com, Deb Shinder) [Ergonomics Resources]