An investigation was carried out at five workplaces, four of which were related to the newspaper industry while the fifth was a large insurance company. Complaints which had arisen from the staff at these offices were primarily reported as musculoskeletal difficulties, eye strain, and headaches. A questionnaire was distributed to gather data on occupational and medical histories. The individuals who responded to the questionnaire were classified into one of three groups: professionals, clerical workers who used video display terminals (VDTs) and clerical workers who did not use VDTs. A positive but slight correlation was observed between the time spent on a VDT and the amount of physical complaints reported by the individual. The workers using VDTs had the highest stress and strain levels, the professionals had the least and the nonVDT clerical group fell in between. Clerical VDT operators were shown to have jobs which involved rigid work procedures with high production demands as well as perceptions that the equipment took meaning out of their work and increased their anxiety level about being replaced by machines completely. The greater dissatisfaction and higher amount of workload was implicated with the increased incidence of health complaints. The author stresses the similarities found among the clerical VDT users at the office and assembly line workers in manufacturing facilities and concludes that there is a need to address the human aspect in the workplace.
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