Effects of ergonomic intervention on work-related upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders among computer workers: a randomized controlled trial
Purpose The aim of the study was to determine effects of ergonomic intervention on work-related upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders (WUEMSDs) among computer workers.
Methods Four hundred computer workers answered a questionnaire on work-related upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms (WUEMSS). Ninety-four subjects with WUEMSS using computers at least 3 h a day participated in a prospective, randomized controlled 6-month intervention. Body posture and workstation layouts were assessed by the Ergonomic Questionnaire. We used the Visual Analogue Scale to assess the intensity of WUEMSS. The Upper Extremity Function Scale was used to evaluate functional limitations at the neck and upper extremities. Health-related quality of life was assessed with the Short Form-36. After baseline assessment, those in the intervention group participated in a multicomponent ergonomic intervention program including a comprehensive ergonomic training consisting of two interactive sessions, an ergonomic training brochure, and workplace visits with workstation adjustments. Follow-up assessment was conducted after 6 months.
Results In the intervention group, body posture (p < 0.001) and workstation layout (p = 0.002) improved over 6 months; furthermore, intensity (p < 0.001), duration (p < 0.001), and frequency (p = 0.009) of WUEMSS decreased significantly in the intervention group compared with the control group. Additionally, the functional status (p = 0.001), and physical (p < 0.001), and mental (p = 0.035) health-related quality of life improved significantly compared with the controls. There was no improvement of work day loss due to WUEMSS (p > 0.05).
Conclusions Ergonomic intervention programs may be effective in reducing ergonomic risk factors among computer workers and consequently in the secondary prevention of WUEMSDs.