Loading... Please wait...
Join Ergonomics Insider News

Left Handed Keyboards – Good Ergonomic Choice for Right Handed Users?

Posted


If you are looking for efficient ergonomic ways to improve your computer workstation, consider using left-handed keyboards. Layout of the keyboard on what’s called left handed keyboards can mean big ergonomic and productivity boosts for both left and right handed users.

While you may find other layout changes, the main change in layout for a left handed keyboard is the placement of the numeric keypad. Instead of the traditional right side location, on the left hand versions, the numeric keypad is on the left hand side. Why could this benefit right handed as well as the left handed?

Good ergonomic design implements a layout that aids the user in maintaining the “neutral” position of the hands and wrists during keyboarding. The neutral positioning that OSHA* (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recommends is one in which the forearm, wrist, and hand are in a straight alignment when using the keyboard.

This neutral position prevents what’s known as Repetitive Stress Injuries (RPI).

RPI injuries occur more frequently among people who spend a big portion of their workday at a keyboard. If you’re not using an ergonomic keyboard and your upper body placement is not in the neutral position the majority of the time you place undue stress on your wrists hands and arms. This stress known as contact stress can occur externally and internally. Either type of stress occurs when a tendon, nerve, or blood vessel is stretched or bent around a bone or tendon. The repetition of this stress can cause chronic pain and injury.

If your keyboarding consists of constantly moving between the keyboard and the mouse, chances are good that you’ll improve ergonomics by switching to a left handed keyboard. By having the numeric keypad on the left side of your keyboard, you are able to place the mouse much closer to your alpha keypad portion of the keyboard. This helps with good ergonomic practice of the neutral position. By having the mouse closer, you are not constantly placing your right hand in awkward positions reaching your mouse. Thus, you’re reducing stress.

In some left handed keyboards you’ll find the numeric keypad omitted and replaced with a touchpad. The touchpad eliminates the need for a mouse. By using a touchpad you’ll reduce potential contact stress even more. Plus, in most cases you’ll find the touchpad’s functionality actually improves your performance and you’ll accomplish more in less time.

For optimal performance, reduced stress and eliminating the chances of a Repetitive Stress Injury, try a left handed keyboard. The results will be well worth the minimal adjustment periods of switching keyboards.

*http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/components_keyboards.html