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Self-reported working conditions of VDU operators and associations with musculoskeletal symptoms: a cross-sectional study focussing on gender differences
2002 (English)In: International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, ISSN 0169-8141, E-ISSN 1872-8219, Vol. 30, no 4-5, 277-294 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present study was to describe working conditions and the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms among male and female VDU operators, and to assess associations between work-related physical and psychosocial exposures and neck and upper limb symptoms by gender. The study population comprised a variety of occupations from both private and public sectors. Data on physical and psychosocial exposures were collected by questionnaires, as were data on musculoskeletal symptoms. Univariate associations between exposures and symptoms affecting the neck and upper limbs were estimated by calculating the prevalence ratios with 95% confidence intervals. We also assessed the potential excess odds ratio attributable to interaction between gender and, one by one, exposure variable. Women (n = 785) used the computer on average 3.9 h/day and men (n = 498) 3.6. Variation of different work tasks was lower among females than among males. Nineteen per cent of the women and 12% of the men did > 3 h of continued computer work without breaks (> 10 min) at least twice a week. Twice as many women as men experienced high job strain (high demands and low decision latitude). A higher proportion of women than men reported symptoms greater than or equal to 3 days the preceding month from the upper body, irrespective of body region. For many of the studied exposures the prevalence of symptoms in one or several body regions was increased with increasing exposure, indicating exposure-response relationships. Duration of computer work was associated with symptoms among both men and women. Only among men, duration of work with a non-keyboard computer input device was associated with symptoms. Only among women, job strain was associated with symptoms. Time pressure was associated with higher prevalence of symptoms among women. Among men, time pressure was associated with lower prevalence of symptoms. Thus, the associations differed between the genders. Women experienced higher prevalence of symptoms than men in all body regions and they were more often exposed to physical and psychosocial conditions that in previous studies have been considered harmful, than men.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 30, no 4-5, 277-294 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-21937ISI: 000178338200007OAI: diva2:340635
QC 20100525Available from: 2010-08-10 Created: 2010-08-10Bibliographically approved

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Wigaeus Tornqvist, Ewa
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