The job of a 911 dispatcher involves sitting in a chair for an extended period of time, often with little time to get up and move around. Because of the lack of movement, it is important that 911 dispatchers consider the importance of ergonomics.
What is Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is a bit of a science that is designed to maximize worker comfort and productivity through proper body positioning and proper equipment and its position in relation to the user. Proper ergonomics makes working in front of a computer or keyboard comfortable, while improper ergonomics can result in fatigue, discomfort, and even a number of long-term physical problems. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that computer-related injuries cost employers about $135 million every day through the payment of worker’s compensation benefits.
Ergonomics in Action
The first order of business when considering ergonomics is to ensure that your desk and chair height are comfortable. You should check the positioning of your computer monitor, chair, and keyboard each time before starting your shift, as the emergency dispatcher before you likely did the same thing.
Another helpful way to combat muscle fatigue and soreness is to simply stand up for a period of time. Many emergency dispatchers, in fact, choose to spend about half of their shift standing as to increase circulation and prevent muscle stiffness.
Make sure your computer monitor is a comfortable distance from your eyes as to not cause eye strain, which then can cause headaches. You may also want to turn down the brightness on your monitor and be sure to take your eyes away from your monitor, when possible. Finding a point of reference across the room that you can focus your eyes on often helps relax your eyes after a long period of staring at the computer monitor.
You may also find that investing in a good back support for your chair can do wonders. Back supports that cushion the lower back and support it often make sitting in your chair for long periods of time much more comfortable.
Finally, consider a small light that can reduce the glare from your computer monitor and create a soft glow around your workstation.