Ergonomic Analysis of a Pathological Anatomy Service in a Private Portuguese Hospital

  • Filipa CarvalhoEmail author
  • Rita Martins
  • Rui B. Melo
Part of the Studies in Systems, Decision and Control book series (SSDC, volume 277)


The main tasks performed in a pathological anatomy service often expose pathologists and other technicians to awkward and uncomfortable postures that, in combination with others risk factors may be responsible for the development of chronic pain syndromes. This paper focuses on estimating the prevalence of musculoskeletal and visual symptoms among these professionals and attempts to identify possible associations with their actual working conditions. Other objectives of this study were: identify the most painful tasks/workstations, characterize these in terms of the associated musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) development risk and, finally, identify and propose some preventive measures. To fulfill all these objectives, an ergonomic work analysis was done. Data were collected using a questionnaire specifically developed for this purpose. The Chi-square test and Cramer’s V coefficient were used to identify possible associations between variables (individual/work-related characteristics) and the prevalence of complaints (musculoskeletal or visual fatigue). Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) was the method used to quantify the risk associated to MSD development. The main results have highlighted that the work done in this pathological anatomy service entails risk factors such as high work intensity, awkward postures, turning knobs repeatedly, high cognitive and visual demands which may be responsible for the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms and the high levels of eyestrain. Additionally, the RULA results revealed that the risk for the development of MSD is present in almost all tasks suggesting that investigation and adjustments in the work situation are relevant. The obtained results are in accordance with those reported by other studies.


Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) Visual fatigue Pathological anatomy service Rapid upper limb assessment (RULA) Binocular microscopes Microtomes Embedding centers Digital pathology 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIAUD (Centro de Investigação em Arquitetura, Urbanismo e Design), Faculdade de ArquiteturaUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Laboratório de Ergonomia, Faculdade de Motricidade HumanaUniversidade de LisboaCruz-QuebradaPortugal

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