The incidence of symptoms suggestive of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) among trade occupations and office workers was determined. Work related factors, medical conditions, and CTS diagnostic indicators were also evaluated. Data entry operators, court reporters, clerical staff, carpenters, and sprinkler fitters were selected to represent a wide range of ergonomic exposures. The prevalence of symptoms consistent with CTS was examined among 529 county office workers, and 667 active trade workers and 136 retired trade workers from two unions. Clerks and technical staff had the highest symptom prevalence. The prevalence of hand/wrist symptoms suggestive of CTS was 12% and 17% for carpenters and sprinkler fitters. Among office workers the odds ratios for hours of keyboard use were higher among court reporters and data entry staff than among clerks and technical staff. The prevalence of CTS symptoms increased for up to 10 years of work experience, but decreased thereafter. The number of hours worked per week was inversely associated with CTS symptoms. Power tool and hand tool use were modestly associated with CTS symptoms; however, exposure response trends were not consistent. Job demand and job satisfaction were consistently associated with hand/wrist symptoms, neck/shoulder pain, and low back pain.
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