Effect of office ergonomics intervention on reducing musculoskeletal symptoms

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2003 Dec 15;28(24):2706-11. doi: 10.1097/01.BRS.0000099740.87791.F7.


Study design: Office workers invited and agreeing to participate were assigned to one of three study groups: a group receiving a highly adjustable chair with office ergonomics training, a training-only group, and a control group receiving the training at the end of the study.

Objective: To examine the effect of office ergonomics intervention in reducing musculoskeletal symptom growth over the workday and, secondarily, pain levels throughout the day.

Materials and methods: Data collection occurred 2 months and 1 month before the intervention and 2, 6, and 12 months postintervention. During each round, a short daily symptom survey was completed at the beginning, middle, and end of the workday for 5 days during a workweek to measure total bodily pain growth over the workday. Multilevel statistical models were used to test hypotheses.

Results: The chair-with-training intervention lowered symptom growth over the workday (P = 0.012) after 12 months of follow-up. No evidence suggested that training alone lowered symptom growth over the workday (P = 0.461); however, average pain levels in both intervention groups were reduced over the workday.

Conclusion: Workers who received a highly adjustable chair and office ergonomics training had reduced symptom growth over the workday. The lack of a training-only group effect supports implementing training in conjunction with highly adjustable office furniture and equipment to reduce symptom growth. The ability to reduce symptom growth has implications for understanding how to prevent musculoskeletal injuries in knowledge workers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Ergonomics*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal System / injuries*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Workplace
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control