Research to help reduce the incidence and number of working days lost to
musculoskeletal disorders among computer users has been published by the Health
and Safety Executive.
Scientists at the universities of Surrey and Loughborough examined the use
of different types of non-keyboard input devices (NKID), such as mouse,
trackball and touchscreen, and the problems associated with using them.
They found that, although many alternatives are available, the mouse is by
far the most commonly used device.
However, most of those polled had received no training or information
specific to the safe use of NKIDs and a large number of users worked for
prolonged periods without a break, despite most having some discretion over
Pain or discomfort related to use of NKIDs was reported by about one in
five, with problems ranging from unsuitable design (shape and size), jittery
movements and complex controls, to insufficient desk space and lack of cleaning
Supporting the arm while using a mouse was the best way of avoiding problems
and curved (L-shaped) desks were rated as the most comfortable.
Malcolm Darvill, head of ergonomics policy at the HSE, said the HSE would
use the research to produce revised guidance next February.
"This will help employers comply with the law by giving specific
practical advice on how to work comfortably with a mouse or other NKID,"