Role of workplace interventions to prevent upper extremity MSDs: a systematic review

Reasons for the study

Injuries to the upper extremity are common among workers, accounting for about 30 per cent of lost-time claims in Ontario in 2006. The upper extremity includes the neck, shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. This systematic review looked at the effectiveness of interventions to prevent upper extremity disorders and traumatic injuries.


This review, completed in 2008, found moderate evidence that arm supports were beneficial in protecting upper extremity health. They also found that several interventions did not work. There was strong evidence that workstation adjustments were not effective if they were done alone — but the combination of adjustments and ergonomic training did seem to convey a benefit. There was also moderate evidence that biofeedback training and job stress management training had no effect on protecting upper extremity health. (Please note that this systematic review was updated in 2016. See project titled "Effective workplace interventions to prevent upper extremity disorders: a systematic review update.")

Related research summaries

Related scientific publications

Project status

Completed 2008

Research team

  • Ben Amick, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Carol Kennedy, Institute for Work & Health
  • Jack Dennerlein, University of Texas
  • Shelley Brewer, Chemplan Inc.
  • Starly Catli, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario
  • Renee Williams, McMaster University
  • Consol Serra, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona)
  • Fred Gerr, University of Iowa
  • Emma Irvin, Institute for Work & Health
  • Quenby Mahood, Institute for Work & Health
  • Al Franzblau, University of Michigan
  • Dwayne Van Eerd, Institute for Work & Health
  • Bradley Evanoff, Washington University at St. Louis
  • Dave Rempel, University of California-San Francisco