Work with visual display units and musculoskeletal disorders: A cross-sectional study

Matteo Riccò, Silvia Cattani, Giovanni Gualerzi, Carlo Signorelli
Medycyna Pracy 2016 December 22, 67 (6): 707-719

BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies have shown that employees working with visual display units (VDU) are more likely to complain about musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The aim of this study has been to evaluate associations among MSDs and individuals and work-related factors.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 1032 VDU workers were assessed about their personal (i.e., age, working history, smoking history, physical activity) and work-related factors (i.e., predominant job tasks performed, work posture). Work environment was evaluated regarding fulfillment of the standard ISO 9241-5:1998. The investigation required a direct observation of participants (in order to accurately assess the prevalence of MSDs) and workstations. Adjusted odds ratios (ORa) were calculated by means of the logistic regression model.

RESULTS: Prevalence of MSDs was relatively high (53%). In general, MSDs were significantly associated with female sex (OR = 2.832, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.178-3.683), age ≥ 50 years old (OR = 2.231, 95% CI: 1.236-4.026), longer exposure to VDU, both as working history (10-14 years: OR = 1.934, 95% CI: 1.301-2.875; ≥ 15 years: OR = 2.223, 95% CI: 1.510-3.271) and working time (30-39 h/week: OR = 1.537, 95% CI: 1.087-2.273). Inappropriate workstation design was confirmed by the multivariate analysis as a risk factor for MSDs (ORa = 2.375, 95% CI: 1.124-5.018).

CONCLUSIONS: Musculoskeletal disorders were significantly associated with individual factors as well as characteristics of work environment. An appropriate design of workstations may significantly reduce their prevalence amongst VDU workers. Med Pr 2016;67(6):707-719.

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