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Variance in direct exposure measures of typing force and wrist kinematics across hours and days among office computer workers

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To determine the number of direct measurements needed to obtain a representative estimate of typing force and wrist kinematics, continuous measures of keyboard reaction force and wrist joint angle were collected at the workstation of 22 office workers while they completed their own work over three days, six hours per day. Typing force and wrist kinematics during keyboard, mouse and idle activities were calculated for each hour of measurement along with variance in measurements between subjects and between day and hour within subjects. Variance in measurements between subjects was significantly greater than variance in measurements between days and hours within subjects. Therefore, we concluded a single, one-hour period of continuous measures is sufficient to identify differences in typing force and wrist kinematics between subjects. Within subjects, day and hour of measurement had a significant effect on some measures and thus should be accounted for when comparing measures within a subject.

Practitioner Summary: The dose response relationship between exposure to computer related biomechanical risk factors and musculoskeletal disorders is poorly understood due to the difficulty and cost of direct measures. This study demonstrates a single hour of direct continuous measures is sufficient to identify differences in wrist kinematics and typing force between individuals.
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Keywords: electrogoniometers; exposure assessment; force plate; musculoskeletal disorders; upper extremities

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston,MA, USA 2: Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences,University of Washington, Seattle,WA, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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