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Conn Med. 2007 May;71(5):261-8.

A population based survey of ergonomic risk factors in Connecticut: distribution by industry, occupation, and demographics.

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Ergonomic Technology Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, USA.



Risk factors for upper-extremity musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) include biomechanical factors (force, repetition, posture) and psychosocial factors (job stress). A population-based telephone survey of workers in Connecticut characterized these risk factors by industry, occupation, gender, and age.


Risk factors were highly prevalent in the Connecticut workplace, but varied considerably by industry, occupation, gender, and age. Risk factors clustered based on (a) physically active occupations/industries (pushing/pulling, reaching, bent wrists, and tool use), (b) physically passive occupations/industries (static postures, stress, and computer use), and (c) repetitive motion exposures. Physically active patterns had the highest prevalence in construction/agriculture/mining, followed by (in order) wholesale/retail trade, utilities, manufacturing, services, government, and finance/insurance. Physically passive patterns tended to reverse this order, and repetitive motion followed a third pattern. Physically active risk factors were typically higher for males, though this varied by industry and occupation. All risk factors except for stress show a steady decrease with age.


Almost 1,000,000 Connecticut workers are estimated to be exposed to repetitive work, bent wrists, and job stress. Workers in high exposure industries and occupations should be closely evaluated for risks, with outreach to industries for preventive ergonomic interventions as preferred to treatment for conditions that arise.

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