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Businessweek Archives

Blaming The Keyboard And The Culture For Rsi

Readers Report


As a manufacturer of an "alternative keyboard," we commend Linda Himelstein for reporting on the nation's No.1 job hazard, repetitive stress injury ("The asbestos case of the 1990s?" Legal Affairs, Jan. 16). It's unfortunate that it has to take "megaverdicts" to call the attention of executives and managers to the risks and cost of RSI and the resulting loss of productivity.

When they are part of a comprehensive approach, ergonomic solutions can be relatively inexpensive investments. Private and government studies show the average cost of an ergonomic modification to a workstation (e.g., keyboard, chair, and/or training) is about $250. This is a small price to pay next to the average RSI workers' compensation case cost, reported in the range of $8,000 to $14,000 each.

Gerald C. Groff


Marquardt Switches Inc.

Cazenovia, N.Y.

Please excuse a handwritten letter, but due to a repetitive stress injury, and under doctors' orders, I'm presently not allowed to touch a keyboard. Also excuse me if I take exception to your story. Blaming keyboard manufacturers isn't the answer.

With fewer employees handling heavier job loads, frequent breaks are often not options until the damage has been done. Common sense dictates that job tasks should be structured so as not to put anyone at risk for these painful and debilitating injuries. Knowing when to stop doesn't enter into the picture if expectations are unreasonable and workstations are not ergonomically correct.

Kristine Voigt Cohen


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