Workplace interventions to prevent musculoskeletal and visual symptoms and disorders among computer users: a systematic review

Reasons for the study

The most common occupational health complaints among computer users are eye discomfort and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), including sustained pain in the neck and upper extremities. Researchers from the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), in collaboration with researchers from the United States, undertook a systematic review to identify studies that evaluated the effects of workplace interventions on visual or upper-body musculoskeletal symptoms and disorders among computer users. The goal was to provide scientifically credible evidence about how to reduce the health risks associated with computer work.


The results of the systematic review were published in 2006. Moderate evidence was observed for: (1) no effect of workstation adjustment, (2) no effect of rest breaks and exercise and (3) positive effect of alternative pointing devices. For all other interventions, mixed or insufficient evidence of effect was observed.

Related research summaries

Related scientific publications

Project status

Completed 2006

Research team

  • Dwayne Van Eerd, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Shelley Brewer, University of Texas (PI)
  • Ben Amick, Institute for Work & Health
  • Emma Irvin, Institute for Work & Health
  • Kent Daum, University of Alabama-Birmingham
  • Fred Gerr, University of Iowa
  • Steve Moore, Texas A&M University
  • Kim Cullen, Institute for Work & Health
  • Dave Rempel, University of California-San Francisco

Funded by

Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board