Background: Musculoskeletal disorders are commonly reported among computer users. This study explored whether these disorders can be reduced by the provision of ergonomics education.
Methods: A cluster randomised controlled trial was conducted in which 3 units were randomised for intervention and received training, and 3 units were given a leaflet. The effect of intervention on workstation habits, musculoskeletal disorders, days and episodes of sick leave, and psychological well-being were assessed.
Results: A significant improvement in workstation habits was found, and the differences remained significant at the follow-up time point for keyboard, mouse, chair, and desk use. The largest reduction in the percentage of musculoskeletal disorders was in the neck region (-42.2%, 95% CI -60.0 to -24.4). After adjusting for baseline values, significant differences were found at the follow-up time point in the neck, right shoulder, right and left upper limbs, lower back, and right and left lower limbs. No significant differences were found for the days and episodes of sick leave or the psychological well-being among workers after the intervention.
Conclusion: Consistent reductions were observed for all musculoskeletal disorders at the follow-up time point, although the difference was not statistically significant for the upper back. The improvements in the musculoskeletal disorders did not translate into fewer days lost from work or improved psychological well-being.
Keywords: adult; ergonomics; musculoskeletal diseases; occupational health; training.