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Effects of an ergonomic intervention for computer work.

Authors
Rempel-DM; Krause-N; Goldberg-R; Benner-D; Hudes-M; Goldner-G
Source
NIOSH 2005 Feb; :1-40
Link
NIOSHTIC No.
20026221
Abstract
Customer service work at computers is associated with elevated rates of upper body musculoskeletal disorders. This randomized controlled intervention trial evaluated the effects of a wide forearm support surface and a trackball on upper body pain severity and incident musculoskeletal disorders among 182 customer service operators at a large HMO who were randomized to receive (1) ergonomics training only, (2) training plus a trackball, (3) training plus a forearm support, or (4) training plus a trackball and forearm support. If the participant's weekly pain severity or medication usage exceeded a priori criteria an upper body physical examination was performed. Analyses using Cox proportional hazard models and linear regression models adjusted for demographic factors, baseline pain levels, and psychosocial job factors. Within 12 months post intervention 63 participants were diagnosed with a musculoskeletal disorder in the upper extremities or the neck-shoulder region. Adjusted hazard rate ratios show a protective effect of the arm board for neck-shoulder disorders (HR = 0.49, 95% C.I. = 0.24 to 0.97). The armboard also significantly reduced neck-shoulder pain and right upper extremity pain in comparison to the control group. The findings of the trackball intervention were mixed. A return-on-investment model predicted a full return of armboard and installation costs within 2.4 months. Providing a large forearm support combined with ergonomic training is an intervention that can prevent upper body musculoskeletal disorders and reduce upper body pain associated with computer work.
Keywords
Ergonomics; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Control-technology; Engineering-controls; Cumulative-trauma; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Repetitive-work; Injury-prevention; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Demographic-characteristics; Neck-injuries
Contact
Ergonomics Program, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 1301 South 46th Street, Building 163, Richmond, CA 94804
Publication Date
20050201
Document Type
Final Grant Report
Funding Amount
754596
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
2005
NTIS Accession No.
PB2005-105196
NTIS Price
A04
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-004253
NIOSH Division
OEP
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Intervention Effectiveness Research
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
State
CA
Performing Organization
University of California-San Francisco, Richmond, California
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