Task design, psycho-social work climate and upper extremity pain disorders--effects of an organisational redesign on manual repetitive assembly jobs

Appl Ergon. 1999 Oct;30(5):463-72. doi: 10.1016/s0003-6870(98)00060-x.


A company redesign was carried out to improve production efficiency and minimise the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and sick leave. The redesign was evaluated on the basis of studies of assembly workers before (17 workers) and after (12 workers) the redesign. The redesign resulted in more varied, less repetitive, and more autonomous assembly jobs. The psycho-social work climate was both improved and impaired. A medical examination showed that eight of 17 workers before and nine of 12 workers after the redesign suffered from upper extremity pain disorders. Neither the production goals nor the goals of the redesign were fulfilled. Our conclusion was that the increased task variation and impaired psycho-social work climate, combined with a lack of skill and competence, actually increased the physical stress, risk for disorders and difficulties in fulfilling the production goals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm*
  • Attitude*
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Ergonomics*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Freedom
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Pain / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sick Leave
  • Stress, Physiological / etiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workload
  • Workplace*