Prevalence, risks and severity of musculoskeletal disorder symptoms among administrative employees of a Brazilian company

Work. 2015;52(3):533-40. doi: 10.3233/WOR-152131.


Background: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are common among office workers.

Objective: To evaluate the prevalence, risks and symptoms of MSD among office workers of a Brazilian dairy company.

Methods: Fifty office workers participated in the study. The following evaluations and questionnaires were completed: Rapid Upper Limb Assessment, Strain Index, Muscle Fatigue Assessment, Nordic General Questionnaire, and Oswestry Disability Index.

Results: Seventy-four percent (n = 37) of the participants had MSD symptoms. The back was most commonly affected body part (81% , n = 30), followed by the upper limbs (70% , n = 26). Fifty-three percent of the workers with low back pain had mild to moderate disability, and the risk for the hands, wrists and fingers was moderate. Changes are required to reduce the risk of MSD among the participating office workers.

Conclusion: The prevalence of MSD symptoms was high; the back and upper limbs were most commonly affected. Data from the evaluations and questionnaires supplemented each other. The Rapid Upper Limb Assessment and Strain Index were better indicators of risk of MSD symptoms than the Muscle Fatigue Assessment. The participating office workers were exposed to moderate risk of developing MSD due to biomechanical overload and changes are required.

Keywords: Ergonomics; occupational health; office workers; work load.

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Dairying*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Upper Extremity
  • Young Adult