Overview

Upper Extremity Musculoskeletal Disorders (UEMSD)

Disorders to the wrist, elbow and shoulder are disabling injuries that impact a worker’s life. These injuries often result in lost work time and increased cost to both workers and their employers. Disorders that affect the upper body are known as Upper Extremity Musculoskeletal Disorders (UEMSD) and include carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, rotator cuff syndrome, and others.

SHARP has investigated UEMSD injuries in the manufacturing and service sectors in a series of studies that began in 2001. We study the relationship between work-related UEMSDs and the workplace factors that possibly contribute to them. The factors studied include body mechanics, on-the-job physical exposure, the way work is organized, and the amount of control and support workers have to perform their jobs efficiently. From our research, we have developed exposure assessment checklists and guides so that employers can identify the jobs and tasks that may put workers at high risk for a musculoskeletal injury. Knowing more about the workplace factors that can cause UEMSDs, along with good exposure assessment, helps employers to design efficient and effective intervention strategies. These steps can help an employer lower workers’ risk of musculoskeletal injury to the wrist, elbow and shoulder.

In addition to SHARP’s own studies, we have joined other researchers from several U.S. institutions in a consortium focused on UEMSDs. In the consortium, researchers pool their respective data into a single data source, which allows researchers to study associations with more statistical power than they could otherwise. Currently SHARP is working with the consortium to develop a video-based task analysis program. The program will allow safety and health users to reliably evaluate the job hazards that lead to musculoskeletal disorders.

Please see our publications tab for a list of journal articles published by SHARP and the consortium.

Publications

Journal Articles:

Bao SS, et al. (2016). Relationships between job organisational factors, biomechanical and psychosocial exposures. Ergonomics. DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2015.1065347.

Bao SS, et al. (2016). Impact of Work Organizational Factors on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Epicondylitis. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000790.

Bao SS, et al. (2015). Developing a pooled job physical exposure data set from multiple independent studies: an example of a consortium study of carpal tunnel syndrome. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102396.

Bao S, et al. (2011). Comparison of two different methods for performing combination analysis of force and posture risk factors in an epidemiological study. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health. DOI: 10.5271/sjweh.3166.

Bao S, et al. (2010). Inter-observer reliability of forceful exertion analysis based on video-recordings. Ergonomics. DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2010.507879.

Bao S, et al. (2009). Interrater reliability of posture observations. Human Factors. DOI: 10.1177/0018720809340273.

Bao S, et al. (2009). Application of the Strain Index in multiple task jobs. Applied Ergonomics. DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2008.01.013.

Bao S, et al. (2009). Force measurement in field ergonomics research and application. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. DOI: 10.1016/j.ergon.2008.03.005.

Bao S, et al. (2007). Two posture analysis approaches and their application in a modified Rapid Upper Limb Assessment evaluation. Ergonomics. DOI: 10.1080/00140130701458230

Bao S, et al. (2006). Quantifying repetitive hand activity for epidemiological research on musculoskeletal disorders - Part II: comparison of different methods of measuring force level and repetitiveness. Ergonomics. DOI: 10.1080/00140130600555938.

Bao S, et al. (2006).The Washington State SHARP approach to exposure assessment, in Fundamentals and Assessment Tools for Occupational Ergonomics, W.S. Marras and W. Karwowski, Editors. Taylor & Francis Group: Boca Raton, FL, USA. DOI: 10.1201/9781420003635.

Bao S, et al. (2006). Quantifying repetitive hand activity for epidemiological research on musculoskeletal disorders - part I: individual exposure assessment. Ergonomics. DOI: 10.1080/00140130600555938.

Bao S and Silverstein B (2005). Estimation of hand force in ergonomic job evaluations. Ergonomics. DOI: 10.1080/0014013042000327724.

Dale AM, et al. (2015). General population job exposure matrix applied to a pooled study of prevalent carpal tunnel syndrome. American Journal of Epidemiology. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwu286.

Fan ZJ, et al. (2015). Associations between workplace factors and carpal tunnel syndrome: A multi-site cross sectional study. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. DOI: 10.1002/ajim.22443.

Fan ZJ, et al. (2014). Predicting work-related incidence of lateral and medial epicondylitis using the strain index. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. DOI: 10.1002/ajim.22383.

Fan ZJ, et al. (2014). The association between combination of hand force and forearm posture and incidence of lateral epicondylitis in a working population. Human Factors. DOI: 10.1177/0018720813492327.

Fan ZJ, et al. (2009). Quantitative exposure-response relations between physical workload and prevalence of lateral epicondylitis in a working population. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. DOI: 10.1002/ajim.20700.

Harris-Adamson C, et al. (2016). Biomechanical and psychosocial exposures are independent risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome: assessment of confounding using causal diagrams. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2016-103634.

Harris-Adamson C, et al. (2015). Biomechanical risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome: a pooled study of 2474 workers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102378.

Harris-Adamson C, et al. (2014).Workplace psychosocial risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome: a pooled prospective study. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102362.124.

Harris-Adamson C, et al. (2014). Biomechanical risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome: a pooled study of 2474 workers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102378.

Harris-Adamson C, et al. (2014). Personal and workplace psychosocial risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome: a pooled study cohort: author response. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2013-101365.

Harris-Adamson C, et al. (2013). Personal and workplace psychosocial risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome: a pooled study cohort. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2013-102070.

Hegmann KT, et al. (2017). Association between Epicondylitis and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Pooled Occupational Cohorts. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. DOI: 10.1186/s12891-017-1593-2.

Hegmann KT, et al. (2016). Association Between Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Pooled Occupational Cohorts. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000573.

Kapellusch JM, et al. (2017). Risk assessments using the Strain Index and the TLV for HAL, Part I: Task and multi-task job exposure classifications. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. DOI: 10.1080/15459624.2017.1366037.

Kapellusch JM, et al. (2013). Pooling job physical exposure data from multiple independent studies in a consortium study of carpal tunnel syndrome. Ergonomics. DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2013.797112.