Case Report

Workstation design and postural stress part 2: A case study

Anthony Golding
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 46, No 2 | a791 | DOI: | © 2018 Anthony Golding | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2018 | Published: 31 May 1990

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Anthony Golding, Environmental Studies Division, National Institute for Personnel Research, South Africa

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An evaluation of the musculoskeletal problems associated with seated workstations was undertaken for employees of the Human Sciences Research Council. A sample of 37 workers was studied for 14 days to determine which symptoms were due to chronic disorders and which were linked to postural stress or constrained posture as a result of workstation and task design. Techniques used included two subjective comfort ratings, clinical examinations by physiotherapists, anthropometric and workstation measurement, and video recordings of subjects’ posture over time. Subjects were selected from four occupations characterised by different levels of constraint in their work posture; data-entry typists, typists, programmers and researchers.
Examinations revealed that 68% of the presenting symptoms were not related to any known previous trauma or pathology. Of these problems 86% were reported to be occupationally aggravated or related. The findings confirmed the hypothesis that postural constraint is accompanied by an increased likelihood of developing chronic musculoskeletal disorders.
* The concepts of postural stress and postural constraint and their relationship to the development of muscle strain are discussed in Part 1: Background to occupational syndromes.


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