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Working technique during computerwork. Associations with biomechanical and psychological strain, neck and upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms

By Agneta Lindegård Andersson

Abstract

Lindegård Andersson A (2007) Working technique during computer work. Associations with biomechanical and psychosocial strain and neck and upper extremity symptoms. Arbete och Hälsa 2007;41:1 About 35 % of the working population in Sweden report that computer use accounts for 50% or more of their total working hours. Among employees who work with computers for more than half the working day approximately 40 % of the women and 25 % of the men experience symptoms in the neck and upper extremities at least once a week during the preceding 3 month. The overall aim of the studies underlying this thesis was to explore possible associations between working technique, perceived exertion, comfort, physical and psychosocial strains, and symptoms of the neck and upper extremities among computer users. Specific research questions addressed were: a) Whether working technique was associated with muscle activity, wrist positions and forces applied to the computer mouse, respectively? b) Whether working technique was associated with psychological demands, emotional stress and perceived muscle tension, respectively? c) Whether there were associations between self-rated perceived exertion and observations of working postures, and between self-rated comfort and observations of workplace layout. d) Whether working technique, perceived exertion and comfort, respectively, were associated with neck and upper extremity symptoms/disorders. Results showed that that subjects classified as having a good working technique worked with less muscular load in the forearm (p=0.03) and in the trapezius muscle (p=0.02) on the mouse operating side compared to subjects classified as having a poor working technique. Subjects who reported high levels of emotional stress worked more often with lifted shoulders compared to subjects who did not report stressful conditions. Subjects who reported high psychological demands and perceived muscular tension, respectively, used poorer working technique than subjects who did not perceive these conditions (demands, p=0.03, muscular tension, p=0.02). Moreover, the concordance between ratings of comfort and observations of workplace layout was reasonably good concerning the working chair and the keyboard and good regarding the computer screen and the input device. The concordance between ratings of perceived exertion and observations of working postures the results indicated good agreement for all measured body locations. This applies to the group that rated poor comfort and high exertion. Regarding the group with good comfort and low exertion ratings must be supplemented with observation assessment. Furthermore, that high perceived exertion and low comfort were related to an increased incidence of neck, and upper extremity symptoms while poor working technique was not associated with such a risk. It is concluded that working technique is associated with both biomechanical strain (muscular load and wrist positions) and psychological strain (emotional stress and psychological demands), while no associations could be seen between working technique and the incidence of neck and upper extremity symptoms. Furthermore, high perceived exertion and low comfort are associated with the incidence of neck and upper extremity symptoms.Swedish Council for Working Life, Social Research and AFA Insurance (AFA Försäkring

Topics: working technique, computer users, observation assessments, perceived exertion
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:gupea.ub.gu.se:2077/7508
Journal:

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