Muggleton, J.M., Allen, R. and Chappell, P.
Hand and arm injuries associated with repetitive manual work in industry: a review of disorders, risk factors and preventive measures
Ergonomics, 42, (5), .
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Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common self-reported, work-related illness in the UK, with upper limb disorders ranking second only to back complaints. The rapid increase in disablement cases, the reduced productivity resulting from the disorders, and, perhaps, the threat of litigation which is on the increase, has led to an increased awareness of the problems and an increasing desire to reduce the incidence of such disorders. This paper reviews the problem of upper limb disorders and focuses on those disorders that could be associated with repetitive manual work in industry. The disorders are described and categorized, and potential occupational risk factors are discussed and related to the injuries. In addition, a number of preventive measures, in the form of ergonomics design changes and changes in workplace practice are reviewed. There are frequent calls for well-designed epidemiological studies, so that meaningful dose-response relationships can be drawn up. A significnat part of good study design is associated with measurement and analysis of the user-tool interface and the working environment. With this in mind, a variety of measurement techniques are described. Furthermore, this paper highlights the need for study designs to be founded on a better understanding of the potential damage mechanisms, and points the way towards which areas should be investigated.
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