Microsoft Raises the Bar for Workplace Safety With a New Ergonomically-designed Keyboard, Mouse
With its latest product launch in August, Microsoft believes it has raised the bar for workplace ergonomics to an even higher level, as it recently released the Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop, a sleek USB wireless keyboard and mouse bundle that offers a comfortable feel in a uniquely modern design.
According to Suneel Goud, senior product marketing manager at Microsoft, the new Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop incorporates a split keyboard layout to help position the wrists and forearms in a natural, relaxed position. Among other features, it offers a cushioned palm rest to provide wrist support and a domed keyboard shape to reduce wrist pronation.
"The average person spends more than seven hours on their computer per day, according to our latest research which, with improper use, can cause repetitive strain injuries [RSIs]," said Goud, adding that the new keyboard-mouse combination represents the culmination of 20 years of work and refinement of Microsoft's Natural keyboard-mouse product line. "RSIs not only negatively affect productivity, but they also can be very expensive and one of the leading causes of workers' compensation claims.
"Since the mid-1990s, we've been in the business of making ergonomic PC accessories aimed at creating a safer workplace," he added. "This [Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop] brings together all of our knowledge and builds on the proven results of our previous ergonomic keyboards and mice."
In addition to the positive impact on employee morale, there also is a strong business argument for using equipment that can help reduce the risks associated with computer-related RSIs, Goud said. For example, a typical reported upper-extremity RSI leads to an average claim of 12 lost work days and $38,500 in worker's compensation costs. Studies also show that worker productivity and effectiveness diminish when workers suffer from musculoskeletal pain symptoms.
Altogether, as reported by OSHA, RSIs represent 62 percent of all North American workers' compensation claims and result in nearly $15 billion to $20 billion in lost work time and medical costs annually.
"Of the many risk factors associated with RSIs, one of the easiest to address is improper workstation configuration, which can be improved with simple changes such as an appropriate pointing device and keyboard," Goud said. "Properly designed ergonomic input devices have been shown to reduce computer-related pain and demonstrate a significant effect on the incidence of RSIs for primary prevention."
As the severity of these problems grows, more emphasis is being placed on ergonomics, he added, which can be defined as the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body, its movements and cognitive abilities.
Microsoft has had a lot of success with its Natural Keyboard design, which holds the title as the best-selling brand of ergonomic keyboards in the market today. Goud explained that Microsoft's success in the area of ergonomic input device design has been largely influenced by the fact that the company is one of the few keyboard manufacturers to employ full-time in-house ergonomists. He also noted that Microsoft works with independent third parties to conduct research that helps to further validate the efficacy of their ergonomic features.
"The Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop was designed and tested by our certified ergonomists," he said. "Only those products that meet our strict standards receive the 'Ergonomist Approved' seal."
Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop features and benefits include:
-- Split keyboard design helps to position wrists and forearms in a natural, relaxed position.
-- Cushioned palm rest provides support and promotes a neutral wrist position.
-- Domed design positions wrists at a natural, relaxed angle.
-- Separate number pad helps reduce the potential for shoulder rotation injuries by allowing users to mouse in a more relaxed position -- with the mouse closer to the keyboard.
-- Wider spacebar, which is the most frequently used key on the keyboard, is easier to hit.
-- Windows 8 hotkeys provide convenient, one-touch access to commonly used features.
-- Mouse heighthelps to reduce carpal tunnel pressure by reducing contact between the desk surface and the underside of the hand.
-- Angle of the mousehelps to position the forearm in a more relaxed position.
-- Thumb scoophelps to maintain the correct ergonomic forearm position.
-- Windows buttonprovides one-touch access to the Start screen.
-- Back buttonprovides faster navigation.
-- Four-way scroll wheelallows for navigating up, down, left and right.
The keyboard in the Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop also has "chiclet-style" keys that are similar to a laptop in feel, but optimized for long-term comfort and productivity, said Goud, adding that it has a larger keyset than a typical laptop and is designed to deliver a more comfortable, responsive typing experience.
In addition, the mouse is designed to maximize comfort, reducing carpal tunnel pressure and positioning the forearm in a more relaxed position. It also includes features like the Windows button, which provides one-touch to access to the Windows 8 Start screen.
"Both are designed to provide a comfortable, safe computer work environment all day long," Goud said. "The average person today spends more time using their computer than they do sleeping at night. Yet few people think about the importance of choosing PC accessories that will help to keep them comfortable and reduce the risk of injury throughout the work day."
Goud acknowledged that computing is changing, with more people using smaller devices including smartphones, ultrabooks and tablets. But even with that growing trend, 45 percent of employees still work in a desktop PC environment and more and more are docking these smaller devices in a desktop environment.
In these docking scenarios, Goud suggested that employees dock their smaller devices with an external monitor, as well as a full-size ergonomic mouse and keyboard. "This will give you a much safer, more comfortable, and more productive experience during longer work sessions," said Goud.
"The research today shows that people are starting to see RSI-related problems with extended use of these newer, smaller devices," Goud concluded. "It's important to use the best, safest tools for a particular scenario. And that's when the Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop can have a serious impact on reducing the risks of RSI and the resulting workers' compensation losses."
For further information, please contact Suneel Goud, Microsoft senior product marketing manager at email@example.com or 425-722-0979
(The above piece is part of our continuing Perspectives series designed to highlight key products and services to our readers. This paid-for Perspective was written and edited by Risk & Insurance®
on behalf of our marketing partner. Additional Perspectives can be found on our Web site at www.riskandinsurance.com/.)
September 15, 2013
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