Ergonomic risk assessment of smartphone users using the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) tool.
The number of smartphone users globally is rapidly increasing. This study aimed to assess the level of ergonomic risk to smartphone users, and to evaluate the correlation between any self-reported musculoskeletal disorders and the level of ergonomic risk. Thirty participants completed a questionnaire, tailored specifically for smartphone users, to determine any musculoskeletal disorders. Participants were given a seated smartphone texting task and their postures were video recorded during the task. The video scenarios were evaluated by three independent researchers to determine the level of ergonomic risk using the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) tool. RULA is an observation-based screening tool which has been widely used to assess the postural risk of IT device users. However, it has not yet been specifically utilized with smartphone users. The RULA tool scores identified ergonomics risks from using smartphones to text. Most smartphone users had a total RULA Grand Score of 6 for both sides (left side: 80.00%, right side: 90.00%), indicating the need for further investigation and changes (Action Level 3). Notably, no participants had acceptable RULA Grand Scores of 1 or 2. The correlation between musculoskeletal disorders and the ergonomic risk among smartphone users was determined using the Chi-Square test and Fisher’s exact test