Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

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Workstation Components Wrist/Palm Supports

Wrist/Palm Supports

Proper arrangement of the keyboard and mouse help create a comfortable and productive workstation. Wrist or palm rests can also increase your comfort.

Although opinions vary regarding the use of wrist/palm supports, proper use has been shown to reduce muscle activity and to facilitate neutral wrist angles.

Wrist Rest Quick Tips

  • Use a wrist rest to maintain straight wrist postures and to minimize contact stress during typing and mousing tasks.

Potential Hazards:

Figure 1. Bending the wrist upward

Figure 1. Bending the wrist upward

  • Performing keying tasks without a wrist rest may increase the angle to which users' wrists are bent (Figure 1). Increasing the angle of bend increases the contact stress and irritation on tendons and tendon sheathes. This is especially true with high repetition or prolonged keying tasks. Keying without a wrist rest can also increase contact stress between the users wrist and hard or sharp workstation components.
  • Resting the wrist/palm on a support while typing may inhibit motion of the wrist and could increase awkward wrist postures.

Possible Solutions:

Figure 2. Wrist/palm rests encourage neutral wrist postures

Figure 2. Wrist/palm rests encourage neutral wrist postures

  • Your hands should move freely and be elevated above the wrist/palm rest while typing. When resting, the pad should contact the heel or palm of your hand, not your wrist.
  • If used, wrist/palm rests should be part of an ergonomically-coordinated computer workstation.
  • Reduce bending of the wrists by adjusting other workstation components (chair, desk, keyboard) so the wrist can maintain an in-line, neutral posture.
  • Match the wrist support to the width, height, and slope of the front edge of the keyboard (keeping in mind that the goal is to keep wrist postures as straight as possible).
  • Provide wrist/palm supports that are fairly soft and rounded to minimize pressure on the wrist. The support should be at least 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) deep.
Figure 3. Diagram of wrist support demonstrates the length of the wrist rest should match the length of the keyboard and the width of the wrist rest should be at least 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) deep

Figure 3. Diagram of wrist support

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