Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1994;20(6):417-426    pdf


Job task and psychosocial risk factors for work-related musculoskeletal disorders among newspaper employees.

by Bernard B, Sauter S, Fine L, Petersen M, Hales T

OBJECTIVES A cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the association of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders and work-related factors among employees using video display terminals at a large metropolitan newspaper.

METHODS The study included 1050 randomly selected workers from four departments. The workers were asked to complete questionnaires on symptoms, job tasks, and psychosocial and work organization conditions. Musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremities were defined by frequency, duration, and intensity of symptoms not attributable to acute injury. Data were analyzed with the use of logistic regression.

RESULTS A total of 973 workers completed the survey. The one-year period prevalence rate for any musculoskeletal disorder of the upper extremities was 41%. Neck symptoms (26%) were the most frequently reported, followed by hand or wrist (22%), shoulder (17%), and elbow (10%) symptoms. Greater time working at the video display station was associated with increased hand or wrist symptoms in a dose-response relationship. In addition, variables corresponding to increased work-load demands (eg, increased time working under deadline and increased job pressure) were associated with increased neck, shoulder, and hand or wrist disorders. Women were more likely to report symptoms in several areas, but this finding may reflect the concentration of women in jobs involving more risk factors.

CONCLUSIONS The results suggest a high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremities among newspaper employees, and they provide additional evidence that increased work load, time pressure, and greater hours of computer use are related to the occurrence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among these workers, particularly for disorders in the hand or wrist area.