Impact of a joint labor-management ergonomics program on upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms among garment workers

Appl Ergon. 2001 Oct;32(5):453-60. doi: 10.1016/s0003-6870(01)00024-2.


This study evaluated the effect of an ergonomics intervention program on the prevalence and intensity of symptoms of upper extremity work-related musculoskeletal disorders among 36 garment workers performing an operation called spooling. Adjustable chairs were introduced and workers were trained in their use. Symptom surveys were administered prior to and 6 months after introduction of adjustable chairs. Quantitative pre- and post-intervention measurement of joint position was performed utilizing videotapes among a subgroup of nineteen. Eighty nine percent of the cohort reported pain in either the neck or at least one upper extremity anatomic site prior to the adjustable chair intervention. Among subjects reporting pain at baseline, there were significantly decreased pain levels in 10 of 11 anatomic sites after the intervention. Among all subjects, the proportion reporting pain decreased for each anatomic site following the intervention, with statistically significant decreases in 3 sites. However, there were only modest declines in awkward posture among the videotaped subgroup. This study suggests that introduction of an ergonomics program focused on education and introduction of an adjustable chair may diminish musculoskeletal symptomatology in apparel manufacturing workers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Ergonomics / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Program Evaluation
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workplace / organization & administration*