New study of risk factors of neck and upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms

legg-widanarko.jpg A new study of risk factors for musculoskeletal symptoms of the upper limbs is beginning at the Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health. The project will be run by Professor Stephen Legg. The project officer will be the Centre’s latest doctoral graduate in Ergonomics, Dr Uri Widanarko.

The project was awarded funding by the Massey University Research Fund, and will examine data collected as part of Dr Widanarko’s PhD thesis on musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS) of the neck/shoulder, arm/elbow and wrist from a large random sample of New Zealand workers and also from Indonesian coal mine workers.

A novel feature of the study is an analysis of the risk factors for activities that are affected by the MSS and any absenteeism due to the MSS. Whilst it is well known that there are various physical risk factors for MSS such as repetitive movements, awkward postures, and sustained constrained postures, the role of psychosocial work stress is less well understood. An additional feature of the study will be to examine if there is any combined effect and/or interaction between physical and psychosocial risk factors.

The findings of the study will help to identify what kinds of interventions are most likely to be effective in preventing upper limb MSS.  

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