Workstation and Workplace Ergonomics

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Vicki Ahlstrom
Henry Dorsey
Anton Koros
Randy Sollenberger, PhD.

Ahlstrom, V., Sollenberger, R., Koros, A., & Dorsey, H. (2009). Workstation and workplace ergonomics at Federal Aviation Administration Operations Control Centers: Phase 1- Evaluation of ergonomic issues (DOT/FAA/TC-09/02). Atlantic City International Airport, NJ: Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center.


The purpose of this study was to collect data on current workplace ergonomic conditions at Federal Aviation Administration Operations Control Centers. Ergonomic issues and associated work-related musculoskeletal disorders can arise due to a combination of factors including environmental conditions, workstation design, frequency and duration of tasks, and psychosocial considerations. In order to create a comprehensive picture of Operational Control Center ergonomics, researchers collected a range of data. Researchers collected data on the workplace environment, including temperature, lighting, and noise. They collected workstation data, measuring the dimensions and features of the desks and chairs and comparing them to standards. Researchers observed and recorded the frequency and duration of user activities during periods of typical work. Finally, they collected data through a questionnaire, which allowed the participants to provide feedback and ratings on their current level of discomfort and on various aspects of their work environment. The research team identified instances where measurements of the current workplace did not meet recommended standards, including temperature, lighting, and workstation adjustability. These deficiencies could result in increased ergonomic risk to the users, a concern that was reflected in the questionnaire results. Questionnaire responses also identified potential ergonomic issues beyond the physical workstation, including psychosocial and organizational factors. These issues and some potential solutions are discussed in detail in this report.