Do I need ergonomic nosing on my dispatch console?
A customer recently asked me about a blog post they read that focused on “ergonomics in the public safety dispatch center” and sited “ergonomic nosing” as an important feature for their dispatch consoles.
While I imagine the intention of the post was good, there was some misinformation about the impact of furniture nosing, or edging, and its relative importance to ergonomics. The post contends that a hard, rounded front edge on your office desk or console will damage your wrists and forearms. The author's proposed solution was “ergonomic nosing,” which is also known as a “waterfall edge”.
Truth be told, “ergonomic nosing” is not an ergonomic feature at all. To understand this, let’s examine the correct ergonomic posture recommended while sitting, typing and writing at your console.
Your console furniture edge isn’t part of the ergonomics equation.
Princeton University Health Services writes –
“While you’re typing, your wrists should not be resting, but held up in line with the backs of your hands. This reduces strain to your wrist that may result from holding it at an unnatural angle, and allows you to move your arms to reach the keys, rather than stretching your fingers to reach them. Use a foam pad or towel in front of your keyboard to rest your wrists and forearms while you’re not typing….”
Mayo Clinic writes –
“Place your mouse within easy reach and on the same surface as your keyboard. While typing or using your mouse, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows….”
Both Princeton University Health Services and the Mayo Clinic agree that the key to promoting healthy blood flow and muscle use in the wrists and hands requires the wrists be elevated away from the edge of the work surface. Figure 1 and 2 below clearly show that if you are sitting at an office desk or console in an ergonomic fashion, your forearms and wrists will not come in contact with the, poorly named, “ergonomic nosing.”