Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

Ergonomics in VDU work: A randomized
controlled trial

Ketola R, Häkkänen M, Toivonen R, Takala E-P, Viikari-Juntura E
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki


1
Introduction

Computers facilitate and make work more efficient in many professions. In Finland in 1996, 57% of the women and 55% of the men used a video display unit (VDU) in their work (Statistics Finland 1996). The use of graphics software and non-keyboard input devices, e.g. mouse, has increased rapidly causing new demands for the design of office work places. Poorly designed VDU work has been associated with a variety of physical and psychosocial problems. Redesign and improvements in ergonomics have generally been recommended as a solution for musculoskeletal disorders in VDU work. Scientific evidence on the effects of ergonomics is, however, scanty.

We carried out a randomised controlled trial on the effects of ergonomic changes in VDU work. The study includes three different interventions and investigates their effects on neck, shoulder and upper extremity symptoms.


2
Study design

The study was carried out in three administrational centres of a medium-sized city in Finland. Employees working in the office at least 4 hours per week (n=515) were asked to fill in a questionnaire in January 1998. Organisational and environmental factors of VDU work, time working with input devices and various types of software, general health, psychosocial stress, and musculoskeletal symptoms were inquired. A total of 410 employees (80%) replied to the questionnaire.

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