Study Summary

Report: Work with Visual Display Terminals: Psychosocial Aspects and Health

Authors: Dr. Collin J. MacKay

Sponsors: World Health Organization

Some of the symptoms reported by users are often the result of the effort expended to maintain performance in the face of accumulating fatigue. Rest pauses should therefore be arranged so that they are taken prior to the onset of fatigue, not as a recuperative period from it. Short, frequently occurring pauses appear to be more satisfactory than longer ones taken occasionally. Thus, a 5- to 10-minutes break after 50 to 60 minutes would probably be better in this respect than 15 minutes after every 2 hours. Additionally, there is some evidence to suggest that very short breaks (so-called "micropauses") of between 5 and 7 seconds after a few minutes work, may also be helpful. On the whole, rest pauses lead to a general improvement in the quantity and quality of output.

Study: Analysis of the Exercise Program in Manufacturing at the Somerville Plant Ethicon, Inc.

Authors: Conni Grasely

Sponsors: Ethicon, Inc.

In order to study the effect of the exercise program ongoing in the Handwinding and Swaging areas of the Somerville Plant. After two to three weeks of NOT participating in a regular structured exercise program, the Handwinding operators experienced an overall 12% decrease in flexibility and an overall 9% decrease in strength. The Swaging operators, after participating in an exercise program, experienced an overall 15% increase in flexibility and 4% increase in strength.

Study: The Influence of a Gymnastic Pause upon Recovery following Post Office Work

Authors: W. Laporte

Sponsors: Institute of Physical Education, University of Ghent, Belgium

The influence of a gymnastic pause and a passive pause after work was compared in the Post-Cheque Office in Brussels. A group practicing some light gymnastic movements and a control group taking a passive rest, each composed of 40 subjects, were examined by a test battery consisting of the flicker fusion frequency test, Wechsler's digit symbol test, a hand dynamometer test, and Pieron's tremor test. The results were interpreted to mean that hand steadiness improved, general fatigue and eye fatigue diminished, work was done faster, and that muscular strength was greater after gymnastic pause than after the passive pause.

Study: The Investigation of an Optimal Work/Rest Schedule for a Light Repetitive Task

Authors: Megan Crook

Sponsors: HCA Medicorp, Australia

Study results suggest that shorter, more frequent rest breaks might have an adverse effect on the levels of fatigue and the productivity of VDU operators. The provision of relaxing and stretching exercises during rest pauses, however, may relieve physical and psychological fatigue, and hence prevent symptoms of overuse.

Study: The Effects of Pause Type on Neck and Shoulder EMG Activity during VDT Work

Authors: Gunnevi Sundelin and Mats Hagberg

Sponsors: National Institute of Occupational Health, Department of Anatomy, University of Umea, Umea, Sweden

The discomfort ratings were assessed for twelve female word processors during three work periods of 30 minutes each. Three different kinds of pauses, active pauses with pause gymnastics movements, passive pauses, and diverting pauses, were introduced into the work every six minutes. Active pauses changed the muscled activity pattern. There was a tendency to prefer pauses with activity to passive pauses.

Study: Recuperating after Muscular Fatigue

Authors: E. Asmussen and B. Mazin

Sponsors: The Laboratory for the Theory of Gynamistics, August Krogh Institute, University of Copenhagen

"Diverting activity" is defined as any physical or mental activity performed between or simultaneously with bouts of exhaustive, local muscular work. It was found that the amount of work that could be performed after a pause with diverting activity was always larger than the amount of work performed after a passive pause.

Study: Fatigue Induced by Static Work

Authors: J. F. Kahn and H. Monod

Sponsors: Laboratiore de Physiologie de la mottricitie, UA CNRS, Paris France

Despite its low energy cost, isometric contraction can result in the onset of local muscle fatigue. The onset of fatigue is more rapid when the relative force exerted is greater than 15-20% of the maximum voluntary contraction of the muscle considered and when contraction time is increased. The introduction of rest periods of sufficient duration to ensure restoration of normal blood flow through the muscle is an effective way of delaying, or even preventing, the onset of muscle fatigue.

Study: Occupational Repetitive Strain Injury

Authors: W. E. Stone (1984)

Publication: Australian Family Physician

The implementation of regular rest pauses during repetitive work is considered to be a valuable strategy in the prevention of overuse disorders.