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Variation of physical exposure and computer work: comparison between tasks according to computer use

Grant number: 12/06175-4
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2012
Effective date (End): October 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy
Principal Investigator:Ana Beatriz de Oliveira
Grantee:Dechristian França Barbieri
Supervisor abroad: Svend Erik Mathiassen
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : University of Gävle, Sweden  
Associated to the scholarship:11/03557-0 - Variation of physical exposure and computer work: comparison between tasks according to computer use, BP.MS


This application aims at the request of a grant to allow the master student Dechristian França Barbieri, who held a FAPESP grant since March of this year, to stay abroad during two months. The research project developed by the student has a partnership with Professor Svend Erik Mathiassen, director of the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research at the University of Gävle. This period abroad will allow the student to work with the research group coordinated by Professor Mathiassen on the data analysis and drafting of a manuscript to be submitted to an international journal. This project is focused on the study of physical exposure of computer workers. The high incidence of musculoskeletal disorders among these workers may be associated with risk factors such as low muscular resting and small variation in tasks performed during the workday. Thus, some theories suggest the enrichment of work, achieved when workers are able to perform different tasks, introduces variation to workers' physical exposure. This variation could reduce the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. However, it is unknown whether the physical exposure of workers using the computer varies depending on the performance of different tasks. A comparison based on electromyographic recording during computer and non-computer work showed that the pysical exposure did not change according to computer use. However, movements were not recorded, and the identification of the tasks was accomplished through the use of software. Thus, this study aims to compare the physical exposure of computer workers of administrative sectors of the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), based on movement and EMG recordings during computer and non-computer work performed during a regular working period. For this purpose, a sample of 40 office workers who use the computer for at least five years will be evaluated for musculoskeletal symptoms and disorders through Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire and a standardized physical examination. During their regular work, the EMG of upper trapezius and wrist extensor will be bilaterally recorded, as well as movements of the head, shoulders and upper trunk. Since portable devices will be used, workers are free to perform their regular tasks. During the data collection the researcher will follow the worker in order to identify the use of the computer during the tasks. These data will be used to cut the recordings and divide them into two sets: computer work (CW) and non-computer work (NCW). For these two sets of data some variables that characterize physical exposure and its variability will be calculated (mean exposure, standard deviation and coefficient of variation). Data of CW and NCW will be compared through paired t-Student test or Wilcoxon, if non-normal distribution is found (Shapiro Wilks). The significance level will be set at 5%. With these data we intend to contribute to a better understanding of the variation in exposure according to the use of computers in the workplace, which may guide preventive strategies. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
BARBIERI, DECHRISTIAN FRANCA; SRINIVASAN, DIVYA; MATHIASSEN, SVEND ERIK; NOGUEIRA, HELEN CRISTINA; OLIVEIRA, ANA BEATRIZ. The ability of non-computer tasks to increase biomechanical exposure variability in computer-intensive office work. ERGONOMICS, v. 58, n. 1, p. 50-64, JAN 2 2015. Web of Science Citations: 10.

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