Consultant to Colebrook Bosson and Saunders Products Ltd as ML Design and production 1987-93
Die cast aluminium, stainless steel, injection moulded plastic and rubber are formed into the engineered components of VDU and screen supports, the then disk drive baskets, keyboard supports, foot rests, screen filters and printer stands. The range of computer and word processor accessories offer their users ergonomic benefits, simplicity of use and durability. The Bolton Arm and other products in the range were developed in response to the increased awareness of health problems incurred in office environments. These are ailments such as repetitive strain injuries that paralyse arms and hands and other problems that are a direct result of bad posture at the workstation and the effects of prolonged periods of use of VDU’s
The European Community Council Directive 90/270/EEC insisted on minimum safety requirements for work with display screen equipment. In the early 90’s Colebrook Bosson and Saunders a partnership of designers and architects formed themselves into a product based company designing, developing, manufacturing and marketing products that would accessorise workstations to facilitate the directive. Mark had spent previous years working with Project Office Furniture, one of the largest furniture manufacturing companies in Europe, developing its marketing initiatives. He was also involved with the product development there. Able to bring to CBS his experience and understanding of the specifics of what was required to bolt a VDU arm onto a desk and understanding that each existing office furniture range in the market place had a different requirement for a fixing bracket design for it to work, Mark was able to implement the research required and determine the variations for each to be applied to the arm component. It was this that then led CBS to further enhance their offer to the market place. Marks involvement with the company was short lived but profound enough to help set their ball rolling for them to become a key player in the theatre of the ergonomic screen and office workplace accessory market.
Colebrook Bosson Saunders is now an international cooperation of designers, manufacturers and worldwide distributers of award winning ergonomic IT products. They continue to develop new solutions to meet new challenges including an IPod holder and tablet stand along with a comprehensive range of AV stands.
An excerpt from Accessories for our Future, Mark Lewis – Interior Designers’ Handbook, 1993
The office industry in Europe has found this, in addition to their allies in legislation, which forces businesses to revise their own integrity. This is so because awareness has grown of the sicknesses such as, repetitive strain syndrome and building sickness syndrome. They have developed in our consciousness like asbestosis and silicosis did when they became an unacceptable cause of death for many British workers. Health is now an important consideration for the controllers of our commerce and industry and so has become such for our office environments. Every facility which will ease the stresses and strains that our contemporary worker endures is under review. The fact that the majority of workers now serve their employer in a high-tech mode insists that these facilities be incorporated into the office environment.
Once people chocked a few hundred feet underground in coal mines or dismembered themselves in the mechanisms of a cotton loom. Now our modern worker – those who sit mainly motionless for most of their working day suffer equally uncomfortable symptoms. They sit cramped and tense, consumed with the minute repetitive actions and of fingers and wrist. They now develop their own irreparable injuries. These result from years if using word processors, or computer keyboards. VDU operators have long been ignorant of the effect their bad posture has on them. Hours after hours they would be unaware that the seemingly insignificant tapping of the wrist against the keyboard edge deteriorates their wrist nerves and tendons. That having their head forward to looking down would cause a strain in their back that eats into a restful night’s sleep. This in turn, inconspicuously undermines their fitness and resistance from virus infections spawned by ailing colleagues.
Unfortunately, the injuries and strains and now showing themselves in operatives who began using the new technology when it was first introduced. Women mainly, who have spent over six or seven years bashing the keyboards of a terminal, day in and day out, will suddenly wake up one morning with paralysed hands. Unable to work she is then dismissed and can only seek compensation from the employer. Some claims have been successful.
As a result accessories in the office have now become important to the office worker and the office industry generally. As it is the accessories that can offer a solution to the problems of repetitive strain injury, they will support the overall, and often subtle changes in our office environments and procedures that are crucial to relax during the working day.
An estimated 750,000 workers took 13 million days off work in 1989-1990 because of what the regarded as work related illness. In addition, 730,000 in work were affected but took no time off, and a further 820,000 retired and unemployed people reported that they were affected by the longer term consequences of work related illness. These statistics were published by the Government Health and Safety Executive.
Ergonomics have become crucial to the enhancement of the comfort and performance of any office worker. Ergonomics (the new buzz word?) have helped designers to identify the physical relationships between human beings, the environment and the tools we may use. Furniture and accessories have now been developed and are available to office workers. They are able to ease strains by improving posture and supporting limbs, and actions otherwise susceptible to the strain or injury.