October/November 2012 (vol. 09/3)

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Research Plus

Upper-limb disorder prevention

This Cochrane systematic review (15 included papers) found relatively sparse evidence for the effectiveness of ergonomic devices and/or training in preventing work-related upper-limb and neck disorders. The evidence quality was generally low or moderate. There was moderate-quality evidence that use of an arm support with an ‘alternative’ mouse (for example one designed to give a neutral forearm position, or a trackball) as compared to a conventional mouse, reduces symptoms and incidence of disorders of the neck and shoulder but not those of the right arm (the study did not include outcomes for left upper limbs). These devices used alone were not effective. There was low-quality evidence that supplementary rest breaks were not effective in reducing discomfort in the neck, shoulder, right arm, wrist or hand. Other interventions covered in the review, including training with or without alternative equipment, safe lifting or reduced working hours, did not reduce symptoms or incidence of disorders.


Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012; issue 8: Article number CD008570. doi: 10.1002/14651858. CD008570.pub2. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008570.pub2/pdf/abstract


Occupational Health at Work October/November 2012 (vol. 09/3) pp41