A new training method using a desktop webcam to improve ergonomic posture and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) among office workers using computers has been developed.
A multidisciplinary team at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev imparted both office training and an automatic frequent-feedback system that displayed a webcam photo of a worker’s current sitting posture alongside the correct posture photo taken during office training to 60 workers.
The results showed that both training methods provided effective short-term posture improvement; however, sustained improvement was only attained with the photo-training method.
Both interventions had a greater effect on older workers and on workers suffering more musculoskeletal pain. The photo-training method had a greater positive effect on women than on men.
“To maintain the effectiveness of an ergonomic intervention for the long term, the intervention should be a continuous process, which includes frequent feedback,” the researchers explained.
“This new ergonomic method can also result in preventing MSD among workers and reduce financial loss to their employers,” they said.
The method of frequent and continuous feedback using photos was found to be effective in improving the sitting posture of computer workers over time.
These conclusions have direct implications for many workers in industry and services.
The study has been published in the forthcoming issue of Applied Ergonomics.