Occupational concerns associated with regular use of microscope
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Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, A.B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Deralakatte, Mangalore, India
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2014;27(4):591–8
Objectives: Microscope work can be strenuous both to the visual system and the musculoskeletal system. Lack of awareness or indifference towards health issues may result in microscope users becoming victim to many occupational hazards. Our objective was to understand the occupational problems associated with regular use of microscope, awareness regarding the hazards, attitude and practice of microscope users towards the problems and preventive strategies. Material and Methods: A questionnaire based survey done on 50 professionals and technicians who used microscope regularly in pathology, microbiology, hematology and cytology laboratories. Results: Sixty two percent of subjects declared that they were suffering from musculoskeletal problems, most common locations being neck and back. Maximum prevalence of musculoskeletal problems was noted in those using microscope for 11–15 years and for more than 30 h/week. Sixty two percent of subjects were aware of workplace ergonomics. Fifty six percent of microscope users took regular short breaks for stretching exercises and 58% took visual breaks every 15–30 min in between microscope use sessions. As many as 94% subjects reported some form of visual problem. Fourty four percent of microscope users felt stressed with long working hours on microscope. Conclusions: The most common occupational concerns of microscope users were musculoskeletal problems of neck and back regions, eye fatigue, aggravation of ametropia, headache, stress due to long working hours and anxiety during or after microscope use. There is an immediate need for increasing awareness about the various occupational hazards and their irreversible effects to prevent them.