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.

Progress

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

Preventing MSDs among computer users: summary of a systematic review. Sharing Best Evidence: Institute for Work & Health, February 2006.

Related scientific publications

Brewer S, Van Eerd D, Amick B, Irvin E, Daum KM, Gerr F, Moore JS, Cullen KL, Rempel D. Workplace interventions to prevent musculoskeletal and visual symptoms and disorders among computer users: a systematic review. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 2006;16(3):325-358. doi:10.1007/s10926-006-9031-6.
Van Eerd D, Brewer S, Amick B, Irvin E, Daum K, Gerr F, Moore S, Cullen KL, Rempel D. Workplace interventions to prevent musculoskeletal and visual symptoms and disorders among computer users: a systematic review. Institute for Work & Health; 2006.

Project status

Completed

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