The Effect of Flat Panel Monitor Arms on Comfort, Posture and Preference in an Architectural Practice

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This study investigated the effects of installing a flat panel monitor arm for a sample of 27 computer users at an architecture firm. Three surveys were conducted: a baseline pre-intervention survey, and one-month and 3-month follow-up post-installation surveys. Subjective data was collected in this study through online surveys. Objective measures included physiological measurements and observations, with the help of the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment. Results from the first wave of data collection of all subjects (N=27) revealed that there was an obvious issue of musculoskeletal discomfort experienced by many of the subjects. Initial data also found that subjects were at a moderate risks for developing musculoskeletal disorders as the average RULA score was 3. After the installation of the flat panel monitor arms, there was a significant difference in the change of index values for the symptoms of Upper Limb Musculoskeletal disorders between waves 1 and 2 (p=0.045), and between waves 1 and 3 (p=0.022) . A significant difference was also seen in the level of satisfaction between groups over the course of the study. The changes in response were significant at the 0.05 level, between waves 1 and 2 (p=0.045) and between waves 1 and 3 (p=0.004). The difference in change of responses when subjects were asked how often they have their computer monitors at a comfortable viewing height was significant between waves 1 and 2 (p=.031), and between waves 1 and 3 (p=0.36). Lastly, there was a significant difference found in the change of distance between subjects torso and desk (p=.044) There were no significant differences in the RULA scores between groups or surveys. Reports of eye discomfort and headache were widespread among the subjects but there was no significant difference in the prevalence of complaints by body region between those in the control and test groups for any of the 3 surveys, and there was no significant difference within a group between responses in each survey.
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Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders; Computer vision syndrome; Computer use; monitor arm; architecture firm; ergonomics; RULA
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