“Dialogued gesture” and musculoskeletal disorders prevention

Theories and methodologies
By Pascal Simonet, Sandrine Caroly


The relationship between the performance of gestures at work and Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) is now well established. For both the French-language ergonomics and the Clinic of activity’s perspective in occupational psychology, the methodological challenge of carrying out interventions in working environments consists in creating the right conditions of expression and examination of resources in order to develop health-promoting actions. Within an appropriate frame, when ordinary gestures can be transformed into “dialogued gestures” thanks to professional debates within a collective of peers and also more widely among decision-makers and managers, then, alternatives for possible transformations arise. Our proposal is based on a research in the profession of gravediggers on their activity of demolishing tombstones. This intervention allows us to propose that the “Dialogued Gesture” is a psychosocial and psychomotor instrument that promotes the development of the professional gesture: a psychosocial instrument when the gesture is dialogued in contact with professional dilemmas or potentialities, and a psychomotor instrument when the gesture is dialogued in contact with other tried alternatives of its potential execution. The design of the gesture’s vocational training is examined as a proximal area of development of the gesture being dialogued in order to prevent the advent of MSDs. The potential development of the gestures at work requires to question the links between the body’s involvement in the activity, organizational problems to solve and health at work.


  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • gesture at work
  • dialogue
  • vocational training
  • health at work
  • dialogued gesture
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