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The Proactive Approach—Is It Worthwhile? A Prospective Controlled Ergonomic Intervention Study in Office Workers

Laestadius, Jasminka Goldoni MD, PhD; Ye, Jian MD, PhD; Cai, Xiaodong MD, PhD; Ross, Sandra MT; Dimberg, Lennart MD, PhD; Klekner, Meg BSc

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: October 2009 - Volume 51 - Issue 10 - p 1116-1124
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181bae19d
Original Articles

Objective: Does proactive ergonomics program enhance office worker health and productivity?

Method: The investigation was conducted in connection with the move of 1500 office staff to a building with improved ergonomics. It was focused on associations between workstation features, working postures, musculoskeletal pain symptoms, and eye strain before and 18 months after implementation of a proactive ergonomic program. The outcomes were compared between the intervention and a similar reference group.

Results: Associations between improvement of postures and less musculoskeletal pain and eye strain were confirmed. A cross association between several features and postures and improved symptoms was noted, along with improved productivity.

Conclusion: The study suggests that a proactive program adhering to the OSHA recommendations needs to include an individual workstation assessment to be effective in reducing symptoms and increasing productivity.

From The World Bank, Joint Bank/Fund Health Services Department (Dr Goldoni Laestadius, Dr Ye, Dr Cai, Ms Ross, Dr Dimberg); and The International Monetary Fund, Technology and General Services (Ms Klekner), Washington, DC.

CME Available for this Article at

Lennart Dimberg, MD, PhD and coauthors have no financial interest related to this research.

This study was approved by the Joint Bank/Fund Health and Safety Working Group (Ethics approval) on April 5, 2005.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy.

Address correspondence to: Lennart Dimberg, MD, PhD, The World Bank, Joint Bank/Fund Health Services Department, 1818 H Street, NW, MC 2-203, Washington, DC 20433; E-mail:

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine