The effect on work ability of a tailored ergonomic learning program

Lea Sell, Henrik Lambrecht Lund, Andreas Holtermann, Karen Søgaard

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


BACKGROUND: The physical working conditions and the musculoskeletal health of industrial workers have an effect on
their work ability.
OBJECTIVE: The paper evaluates the effectiveness of an ergonomic learning program focused on the development of
low strain working techniques. The project is evaluated in regard to its capacity to improve and sustain the work ability of
industrial workers with high physical work demands.
METHOD: 249 employees at an industrial work site were followed over 2½ years. About one third of the employees were
selected into differentiated courses according to the severity of musculoskeletal disorders. The reference group consisted of
the departments that did not participate. The project was evaluated by using questionnaires and interviews.
RESULTS: The evaluation of the project only showed minor, non-significant increases in the work ability of the group
of employees participating in the most intensive activities. Self- reported productivity increased in all departments, with
the largest improvement found among the employees in the department, where everyone participated in a course (8.6%,
p = 0.003).
CONCLUSIONS:Work ability is composed of many different factors, physiological, physical as well as psycho-social and
this may explain the only limited results even of the extensive project activities in the present study. However, the evaluation
indicated that job rotation in combination with more healthy work methods could sustain the work ability of employees with
more severe musculoskeletal disorders
TidsskriftWork: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)357-366
StatusUdgivet - 2016


  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Aging workers
  • Working techniques
  • Productivity

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