Microscope workers are exposed to continuous static muscular work and an increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders in the neck, shoulder and upper extremities. In a Finnish research centre, microscope workers reported pain in the shoulder, neck, lower back and upper back. As a consequence, a programme to solve the ergonomic problems of microscope work was initiated and led to the construction of a new table for microscopes. Ten experienced male microscope workers were chosen as subjects to carry out an experimental study in which the new table and an old one, an ordinary non-adjustable laboratory table, were compared in a standardized microscope task. The dependent variable was the electromyographic activity measured from muscles in the neck–shoulder region. The new table allowed the microscope to be used with the head in an upright position, the forearms supported and with less flexion of the upper arm. Surface electromyographic measurements also confirmed that the changes were ergonomic improvements.