Presentation M P31

M P31 (Poster Presentation):
Training for Office Ergonomics: A Field Study

Presented by: Dwayne Van Eerd


Van Eerd D1,2, King T1

  1. Institute for Work & Health
  2. University of Waterloo
  3. Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety
  4. Florida International University



Ergonomics training is advocated as a method for reducing incidence and severity of musculoskeletal injuries (MSD). A recent systematic review highlighted the need for more research on office ergonomics training programs (Robson, 2010). Studies evaluating computer ergonomics training program effectiveness have observed both positive health effects and positive changes in workstation configuration. However, studies reporting health differences found conflicting results regarding training. Our objective is to present the findings of a quasi-experimental field study on office ergonomics training.


A quasi-experimental field trial was conducted in five workplaces with data collection at baseline, 3, 6, and 9 months. Five study arms spanned across the workplaces: Control Group, eLearning, In-person, eLearning enhanced, In-person enhanced. The in-person training intervention was developed and tested in a previous study. Both eLearning and In-person trainings contained identical, CSA-compliant content and both took 90 minutes to complete. Enhanced training added three 30 min sessions to build skills. Self-report data was collected using online surveys. Postures and MSD hazards were assessed through observation using RULA and the Office Environment Assessment tool (Robertson, 2009).


Knowledge scores increased significantly in each of the four intervention groups. Self-efficacy increased significantly for all but the control group. All groups experienced a reduction in postural risk for both the left and right side. Workstation configuration and adjustments improved significantly for all groups (less so for control). Symptom changes showed very small changes from beginning to end of day (less than 1 on 10 point scale) with only the control showing a significant improvement. There were no differences between In-person and eLearning; however, enhanced groups consistently had better outcomes at 9 months than non-enhanced.


Training is better than no training for MSD hazard-related outcomes and self-efficacy. No differences were seen between or within groups on pain symptoms possibly due to low pain reports at baseline. Enhanced groups seem to out-perform other groups on self-efficacy, postural risk, and work station configurations and adjustments over time.

Schedule Details

Monday September 29
12:45 - 13:45 Poster Viewing
Session: Workplace