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Effects of an Ergonomic Intervention for Computer Work.


PB2005105196

Publication Date 2004
Personal Author Rempel, D. M.; Krause, N.; Goldberg, R.; Benner, D.; Hudes, M.
Page Count 44
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 armboard 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
  • Computer operators
  • Ergonomics
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Trackballs
  • Forearm support
  • Upper body
  • Evaluation
  • Effects
  • Intervention trials
  • Training
  • Pain
  • Customer service operators
Source Agency
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Corporate Authors California Univ., Davis. Div. of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.; National Inst. for Occupational Safety and Health, Washington, DC.
Supplemental Notes Sponsored by National Inst. for Occupational Safety and Health, Washington, DC.
Document Type Technical Report
Title Note Final rept.
NTIS Issue Number 200517
Effects of an Ergonomic Intervention for Computer Work.
Effects of an Ergonomic Intervention for Computer Work.
PB2005105196

  • Computer operators
  • Ergonomics
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Trackballs
  • Forearm support
  • Upper body
  • Evaluation
  • Effects
  • Intervention trials
  • Training
  • Pain
  • Customer service operators
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
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