This is an ergonomic study involving the use of technology to improve working conditions of people that use the computer as a main work tool. It was based on the development of an integrated system with adjustable sit-stand tables, to remind workers to perform postural changes. All the benefits of the use of these smart desks are under investigation in this ongoing PhD project through psychosocial and physical evaluation. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of posture variation, by introducing adjustable tables, on biomechanical exposure in office workers. Twenty-four office workers from Federal University of São Carlos and University of São Paulo composed the study population and were divided into 2 groups. Group A (12 workers) received the sit-stand table and used the height adjustment freely. Group B (12 workers) received the sit-stand tables adapted with an automatic and programmable control in which the system was programmed to encourage standing for 10 minutes after every 50 minutes sitting. Both groups received an ergonomics training regarding the correct use of the adjustable tables. Psychosocial aspects were assessed from questionnaires: Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire, Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, Need for Recovery Scale, and worker productivity perception. Biomechanical exposure was evaluated at the beginning and after two months using the adjustable table, by electromyography (muscle activity), inclinometers (postures) and heart rate monitor (heart rate frequency). The distinction of tasks performed during the recording was made through direct observation. The development of the new system and its integration to the sit-stand tables were carried out during the first two years of the project. The intervention study in real work settings with the data recording is being conducted during this year. Moreover, we have been performing basic data processing along the intervention period. We expect to perform more complex data processing and analysis of the signals recorded, as well as exploring exposure variation between tasks, simulation of data, statistical analysis and start writing papers during the period of the internship at the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering - Virginia Tech - USA in cooperation with Professor Dyvia Srinivasan. This international cooperation with Professors Divya Srinivasan and Svend Erik Mathiassen (University of Gävle - Sweden) was established during the master's study and maintained in the current PhD project. We expect that the introduction of this new productive working task (sit-stand table) may increase the biomechanical exposure variation and improve the cardio metabolic system. It would comprise an option for the control and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders in office workers.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: