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Wellbeing Oct 17, 2018

Dispatch console workstations are one piece of the mission critical landscape. And it's the piece we are passionate about getting right.

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Dispatch desk feature increase operator satisfaction

This popped up recently on the APCO members' forum. The thoughtful feedback details the improvements this dispatcher and their team have experienced since investing in height-adjustable dispatcher workstations.

We use consoles from Watson that have adjustable desk and monitor height, as well as adjustable monitor distance. This was a big plus since our height range for dispatchers ranges from approx. 5'4" to 6'2". The consoles even have a timer built in that can be set to let you know it's time to stand up and move around.

Everyone of us use this feature throughout the day.

I personally feel better when I can take / dispatch calls while standing.
Being able to walk around, even in limited space, does seem to relieve a portion of the mental stress associated with dealing with the public.

I've been told this several times by other dispatchers as well. Several of us have also noticed a decline in migraines and body cramps.

Of course, like it has been said by others posting a reply, this is all subjective based on the person, but having the option to personalize your space is a huge plus when you have to be there for extended periods of time.

Active 911 Dispatcher and APCO Member

Increased focus on a healthy PSAP

PSAP service responsibilities are growing. Technology is changing. Teams are consolidating. And managers are often struggling to maintain full, dedicated teams. In the face of these challenges, PSAPs are recognizing the value of health, comfort and focus features for dispatchers.

In addition to providing high-value tools for the job, PSAPs can adopt these three steps for "tuning in" to practices that reduce injury, sick time, and churn.

3 Steps Support PSAP Goals

  • Design workplace layouts for open traffic flow and unimpeded sight lines between team members. This keeps teams connected, and promotes rapid engagement with dispatchers in need of assistance.
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  • As an organization, prioritize health, comfort, and focus features that support operator satisfaction and retention goals. Implement these into buying practices for chairs, workstations, and other equipment.
  • Educate operators on the correct use of tools and equipment and how to prevent and detect early musculoskeletal injury symptoms. This helps employees get the most out of specialized work stations, report hazards before injuries occur and report injuries before they become irreversible.

The Dispatcher Workstation

The single most important workstation feature that promotes musculoskeletal health for a 911 dispatcher is height-adjustability. Providing a variable height desk and encouraging postural shift throughout the day has proven critical for joint health and weight regulation - two common health challenges shared by dispatchers. When complemented by additional environment controls, a specialized height-adjustable dispatcher desk promotes worker satisfaction and long-term health.


Learn More

Download the whitepaper, Human Factors and Movement for the 24/7 Public Safety Environment, to discover more about these health and safety topics:

  • conventional ergonomic standards,
  • injury risk and associated costs,
  • the value of movement during the workday,
  • workstations features that promote health and safety,
  • additional tactics for health-focused PSAPs.

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