Objectives To determine the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain (MSP) and identify workstation factors that might influence pain among office worker in a public university in Costa Rica.
Methods A sample of office workers (n=162, 13% of population) were selected at the main campus of the Costa Rica Institute of Technology. Information on MSP was collected using the Cornell Musculoskeletal Questionnaire. Collected data on workstations using OSHA Computer Evaluation Checklist. We used descriptive statistics to analyse data, prevalence was summarised in frequencies and percentages using Stata v13.
Results Prevalence of MSP was 88.2%, pain was higher among women (51.2%) than men (37.0%) and lower prevalence (17.9%) among older workers (more than 51 years of age). Musculoskeletal pain was most common in the lower back (68,3%), followed by neck (60.4%), upper back (51.8%) and wrist (24.4%). Main findings regarding workstation and postural problems were wrists not straight (63.6%), wrists/hands rest on sharp or hard edges (54.7%), glare present (51.7%), platform is not large enough to hold a keyboard and a mouse (50.8%), head, neck, and trunk do not face forward (42.1%), top of the screen is not at eye level (38.5%).
Conclusion Prevalence of MSP was common among office workers, but with a higher prevalence among women and younger people. High prevalence of pain highlights the importance of workplace interventions to reduce the influence on discomfort due to workstation design. In addition, office ergonomics training to all office worker could raise awareness and reduce risk factors due to behavioural problems.
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