From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

New Office Ergonomics Guidelines Available

The feature article in the June, 2002, edition of The Ergonomics Report, “New Office Ergonomics Guidelines Contain Some Big Changes”, describes three new office ergonomics guidelines.

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) released “Guideline On Office Ergonomics” (CSA Standard Z412) in December 2000; the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) released “Ergonomics Guideline For VDT (Visual Display Terminal) Furniture Used In Office Work Spaces” in February 2002; and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) released BSR/HFES 100 “Human Factors Engineering of Computer
Workstations,” which is a draft standard for trial use.

The BSR/HFES 100 document is actually the long overdue update to ANSI/HFES 100, which was originally published in 1988, and served as the primary guideline for north American furniture manufacturers until recently. BSR is the ANSI designated acronym for “Board of Standards Review.” If a consensus is reached, and the standard is accepted and published, it will revert to ANSI/HFES 100.

BSR/HFES 100 provides both requirements and recommendations and is divided into four main sections: Installed Systems, Input Devices, Visual Displays, and Furniture.

Installed Systems addresses installed and functioning workstations which an operator regularly performs computer based tasks, and the immediately surrounding environment. This section includes topics such as layout of computer components, lighting, noise, temperature and vibration.

Input Devices addresses products including, keyboards, mice, trackballs, and touch screens.

The Visual Displays section covers color and monochrome CRTs, and color and monochrome flat-panel displays.

Specific Furniture components include, monitor support surfaces, chairs, work surfaces and other operator supports.

The objectives of BSR/HFES 100are cited as:

  • Enhance workstation usability by improving ease of use and ease of learning
  • Facilitate user performance by encouraging task proficiency and error recovery
  • Accommodate users of various physical sizes and expertise levels
  • Maintain user performance by allowing postural changes that minimize static loads
  • Promote user satisfaction by fostering product acceptance and product usage

The 104 page document BSR/HFES 100 “Human Factors Engineering of Computer Workstations” is available from HFES. The cost is US $50 for HFES members and US $85 for nonmembers. For details, go to or contact Lois Smith at 310-394-1811.

For more information about the other guidelines mentioned above, see The Ergonomics Report, Volume 1. Number 4. June 2002.