Study on the Effects on Physical and
Psychosocial Work Environment
Carl Åborg (1, 2)
1. Futura, Statshalsan Research and Development Occupational Health,
2. Department of Human-Computer Interaction, Uppsala University,
Inforrnation technology is rapidly transforming working life. The use of computer networks are growing fast and steadily, and is dramatically changing the methods for information distribution. During the 80:s new techniques for document handling, where paper-based information is replaced by electronic information, have been introduced at many workplaces. The information shall be available when and where you need it, the speed, quality and effectiveness of document handling shall increase. This technique has several different names, e.g. Electronic Document Handling (EDH). We have studied the type of EDH where the information is scanned from paper documents into the computer system, is stored on computer media, presented on a computer screen and available for use within the computer system, often as part of a "work flow" and "case-handling" system. This technology has a great impact on working conditions, physical and psychosocial work environment and thereby on health and well being of individuals. The use of computers and visual display units (VDU:s) at work has in numerous studies shown to produce increased mental and physical work load and increased risk of a number of somatic and mental health symptoms, especially eye strain, neck/shoulder problems and psychosomatic symptoms ( Grieco et al 1995, Aronsson, Aborg, Orelius 1988, Aronsson, Dallner, Aborg 1994).
One clear result of these earlier studies is that personnel working more than 6 hours per day at a visual display unit (VDU) show more symptoms of ill health