The Association between Ergonomic Risk Factors, RULA Score, and Musculoskeletal Pain among School Children: A Preliminary Result

  •  Syazwan Ismail    
  •  Shamsul Tamrin    
  •  Zailina Hashim    


A study was done to investigate the risk factors associated with musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) among school children
in Malaysia. Two schools in the Klang Valley and one in Johor Bahru were selected. A cross sectional study was done
baginning February 2009 until May 2009. Two hundred and twenty nine pupils among 2nd Grade (age 8 years) and 5th
Grade (age 11 years) from three school were selected to participate in this study. Musculoskeletal symptoms were
recorded using Modified Nordiq Body Map Questionnaires; Tanita weight measurement was used to measure school
bag weight and students’ weight. Modified Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) was used to assess the awkward
posture of the students’ torso namely bending forward movement, leaning, sitting and twisting. A high prevalence of
MSD among school children aged 11 years old (5th grade) was found (68.0%) compared to 8 years old (2nd grade) with
36.4%. Result also showed that 31.8% of 2nd grade and 62.2% of 5th grade students experience upper MSD. Lower
MSD complains showed 5th grade students are at higher percentage than 2nd grade with 45.5% and 20.9% respectively.
Logistic regression analysis controlling for body mass index, sport injuries and history of major accidents revealed that
the following factors were related to MSD: home activities (involving television (TV) watching and personal computer
(PC) used) [1.889, 95% CI 1.081 – 3.301] and bag perception complain among school children [2.148, 95% CI 1.086 –
4.247]. For specific MSD symptoms it was found that the duration of home activities using PC or TV exceeding 2 hours
was the main the risk factor of upper MSD among school children [4.923, 95% CI 1.188-20.389]. In conclusion,
combination of risks leads to high increase of MSD among school children in Malaysia.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.