Objectives: This study evaluated the effect of an ergonomic training program on workstation changes and on the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among video display unit (VDU) users at a large university.
Methods: A pretest-posttest design with a reference group was used with random allocation of administrative and geographic units. In each group, the measurements involved direct observation of the workstations, a self-administered questionnaire, and a physical examination. The measurements were performed 2 weeks before and 6 months after the training in parallel in both groups. The study population was composed of 627 workers (81% of those eligible).
Results: The prevalence of all 3 of the postural stressors evaluated decreased in the experimental group after the training. In the reference group, 2 of the 3 stressors decreased in frequency but to a less extent. Some of these beneficial changes were more frequent in workers under 40 years of age. The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders decreased among the workers under 40 years of age in the experimental group, from 29% to 13% determined by questionnaire and from 19% to 3% determined by physical examination. In other groups, there was no significant change in the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders.
Conclusions: Improvements in postural stressors occurred more frequently in the experimental group, and these beneficial changes tended to be more frequent in workers under 40 years of age. Improvements in musculoskeletal disorders occurred in the experimental group among the workers under 40 years of age.