While training and proper equipment both have an important role in workplace ergonomics, a new study indicates that, if reducing pain is the goal, a combination of both factors might be the best way to achieve success.
Conducted by researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, the study, “Effect of Office Ergonomics Intervention on Reducing Musculoskeletal Symptoms,” indicated that office workers who used a fully-adjustable office chair combined with an ergonomics training intervention showed fewer symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) than did their counterparts.
The goal of the study, published in the December 15, 2003 issue of Spine, was to determine the effect of office ergonomics interventions on reducing MSD symptom growth and pain levels throughout the day. Three groups of office workers – one with a highly adjustable chair plus training, the second with training only, and the third with training that took place only at the end of the program – participated in the study. Participants were given daily symptom surveys to determine the total bodily pain growth throughout the workday.
Ultimately, the workers who received the highly adjustable chair with the office ergonomics training reported reduced symptom growth throughout the workday while the training-only group showed “no evidence” of lowered symptom growth. Researchers concluded that “implementing training in conjunction with highly adjustable office furniture and equipment” could turn out to be an effective means of reducing the symptom growth of MSDs.