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Evaluation of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and job stress among teleservice center representatives.
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1995 Oct; 10(10):812-817
A health hazard evaluation was conducted by NIOSH at Social Security Administration teleservice centers (TSCs) regarding work related musculoskeletal disorders (WMD). A study population of 108 teleservice representatives from two TSCs completed questionnaires concerning musculoskeletal symptoms, job tasks, work history, work environment and job stress. The two TSC facilities were ergonomically evaluated and workstation measurements were compared with recommended values. In the WMD survey at facility-A, 68% of the 108 respondents reported symptoms of neck, shoulder, elbow, hand/wrist or back WMD. As a result, 37% had daily pain, 51% had seen a healthcare provider, 38% had missed at least 1 day of work, and 1% had been temporarily reassigned. Forty four percent, 35, 20, 30, and 33% of the reported symptoms were of the neck, shoulder, elbow, hand/wrist, and back, respectively. Seventy eight percent of the respondents from facility-B reported symptoms compared to 42% from facility-A. Increased odds ratios of WMD were determined for those reporting chair discomfort, workload variability, nonoptimized adjusted desk height, facility-B location, nonoptimally adjusted VDT screen, nonoptimally adjusted chairs, and more than 8 hours a day of telephone usage. Perceived job control was inversely associated with back WMD. Of the respondents, 58% reported job dissatisfaction, 75% reported physical exhaustion at the end of the workday, and 92% reported mental exhaustion at the end of the workday. Predictors for physical and mental exhaustion were workload variability, lack of influence and control in policies, and lack of future certainties. Job dissatisfaction was increased by lack of future certainty, nonoptimally adjusted keyboards, poor supervision, and nonoptimally adjusted video display terminal screens. Several recommendations presented for decreasing the incidence of WMDs focused on the importance of optimal ergonomic conditions and employee training.
NIOSH-Author; Service-industries; Work-environment; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Video-display-terminals; Ergonomics; Occupational-hazards; Risk-factors; Telephone-operators; Psychological-factors
Issue of Publication
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division