Physical workload on neck and upper limb using two CAD applications

Appl Ergon. 2002 Jan;33(1):63-74. doi: 10.1016/s0003-6870(01)00044-8.


The aim was to evaluate (1) the physical workload on neck and upper limb in computer-aided design (CAD) work; (2) the impact of two applications (PROFESSIONAL-CADAM and PRO/Engineering) and (3) two input devices (computer mouse and keyboard), as well as (4) sitting and standing work positions. Fifteen CAD operators were interviewed and examined physically. For nine subjects, the physical workload was measured: electromyography (EMG) of trapezius and forearm extensor muscles, inclinometry of the head, the upper back and upper arms, as well as wrist goniometry. The muscular load was low in CAD work, but the inter-individual variation was considerable. Neither the positions were extreme, nor the movements. The applications, per se, did not have a large impact on the workload, but because of the need for different input devices the effect was strong. Using a keyboard meant higher angular velocities than using a mouse. Hence, when choosing a new software, which requires mainly a mouse as input device, this has to be balanced against the risk of disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Computer-Aided Design* / instrumentation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology*
  • Neck*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Physical Examination
  • Posture
  • Risk Factors
  • Software
  • Statistics, Nonparametric