Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an active ergonomics training (AET) program in computer users. Two constructs from the social-cognitive theory were adopted to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the proximal markers of behavior change.
Method: Eighty-seven symptomatic and asymptomatic employees who worked at a computer for a minimum of 10 hours per week took part in a prospective randomized controlled study. Subjects participated in a six-hour training intervention at their workplace. Key elements of the AET intervention were skill development in workstation analysis, active participation, and implementation of multiple prevention strategies.
Results: After receiving AET, risk factor exposure was significantly reduced for participants at higher risk [F(1,82) = 6.42, p < 0.01]. Significant increases in knowledge [F(1,74) = 8.39, p < 0.01], self-efficacy [F(1,73) = 6.95, p < 0.01], and outcome expectations [F(1,75) = 8.75, p < 0.01] were found in the intervention group. When the participants were stratified according to the presence of symptoms at baseline, the group with pain that received the AET intervention had significantly less upper back pain intensity (z = -2.03, p < 0.05), pain frequency (z = -2.70, p < 0.01), and pain duration (z = -3.25, p < 0.01) post-intervention than the control group with pain.
Conclusion: Results from this study provide evidence that participative training in workstation ergonomics can improve work postures, work practices, risk factor exposure, and pain.