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Reducing MSDs in keyboard users

Copy-takers in a newspaper's advertising department carried out repetitive keying-in work for prolonged periods, at desks shared with workers on other shifts. The workstations were not well designed and staff were working in constrained postures.

A number of staff were diagnosed with musculoskeletal disorders and there was a lot of sickness absence and high staff turnover.

The company chose to use a consultant ergonomist to assess the work environment and suggest changes to alleviate the risks of MSD’s. It was decided to reorganise work schedules to reduce some of the pressures on staff. Managers were made responsible for ensuring that workers took breaks from continuous keyboard work, and a rest room was provided. New chairs were bought and desks were provided that were height adjustable, making it easier for shift workers using the same desk to adapt their workstation.

The changes succeeded in reducing sickness absences and staff turnover.

Updated 2014-04-15