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Office technology and musculoskeletal disorders: building an ecological model.
Amick-BC III; Swanson-NG; Chang-H
Occup Med: State of the Art Rev 1999 Jan; 14(1):97-112
There are no accurate statistics on the number of workers in the United Stales who routinely use computers in their jobs. Estimates of the number of people engaged in computer-mediated work also are difficult to determine. However, based on the number of workers in occupations known to use computers to some degree, a conservative estimate is that about half of the 120 million workers in the U.S. are now spending some time during the workday at a computer keyboard. With the continued rapid expansion of computer technology to all sectors of the economy, the numbers will only increase. The effects of the physical aspects of the computer work environment on worker health have long been a concern; Studies since the 1970s have indicated a link between ergonomic aspects of the work environment and musculoskeletal and other problems. Although this research has prompted significant improvements in the design of office equipment and environments, musculoskeletal problems among computer users are still common. Thus, attention has increasingly turned to other occupational risk factors, namely work organization factors, which may, in conjunction with physical risk factors, play a role in the etiology of musculoskeletal disorders. Work organization is defined here as the way in which work is structured and managed, and it encompasses factors such as job design, the scheduling of work, interpersonal aspects of work, career issues, management practices, and organizational characteristics. In this definition, work organization includes what have more commonly been called psychosocial factors or job stresses (e.g., job content factors such as skill usage and control; interpersonal relationships). There is uncertainty regarding the ways in which work organization may be etiologically linked with musculoskeletal disorders. Models proposing a number of potential pathways have been developed but largely remain untested. The ecological model of Sauter and Swanson will guide the analyses reported in this chapter.
Office-workers; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Muscular-disorders; Muscle-stress; Epidemiology; Ecological-systems; Statistical-analysis; Computer-equipment; Physical-stress; Repetitive-work; Task-performance; Cumulative-trauma; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Psychological-stress
B.C. Amick III, PhD, The Helath Institute, New England Medical Center, 750 Washington Street, Box 345, Boston, MA 02111
Issue of Publication
Occupational Medicine: State of the Art Reviews. Office Ergonomics
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division