Safety climate and safety leadership key factors in workplace MSD prevention programs: PREMUS keynote

June 21, 2016 (Toronto, Ontario)—Research shows that stretch and flex programs do not reduce exposure to, and symptoms of, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among construction workers, so why are they still so popular at worksites?

The answer has to do with what else is taking place during these morning huddles, Dr. Linda Goldenhar said in keynote remarks delivered this morning at the 9th International Scientific Conference on the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (PREMUS 2016), before an audience of about 400 researchers and clinicians.

“I want to put the idea out there that while the direct effects of stretch and flex programs on reducing MSDs may be nil, there appears to be positive indirect effects on the indicators of safety climate and perhaps other safety outcomes when workers are gathered together in a huddle before the workday begins to discuss the tasks ahead, the possible hazards and also to stretch,” said Dr. Goldenhar, Director of Research and Evaluation at CPWR—the Center for Construction Research and Training.

CPWR is a non-profit organization established in the early 1990s and based in Silver Spring, Md. Its mission is to reduce occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the construction industry through research, training, and service.

Dr. Goldenhar showed how stretch and flex programs can be used to address many of the eight leading indicators of jobsite safety climate, as identified by construction stakeholders in collaboration with CPWR. The eight indicators include:

  • demonstrating management commitment;
  • aligning and integrating safety as a value;
  • ensuring accountability at all levels;
  • improving site safety leadership;
  • empowering and involving workers;
  • improving communication;
  • training at all levels; and
  • encouraging owner/client involvement.

PREMUS, held every three years since 1992, is the primary conference of the Musculoskeletal Disorders Scientific Community of the International Commission of Occupational Health (ICOH). PREMUS 2016, which runs until June 23 at Toronto’s Allstream Centre, is hosted by the Institute for Work & Health.

The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit research organization that aims to protect and improve the health of working people. Recognized as one of the top five occupational health and safety research centres in the world, the Institute provides practical and relevant findings on the prevention of work injury and disability to policy-makers, workers, employers, clinicians, and health, safety and disability management professionals

For more about PREMUS 2016, please go to: premus2016.iwh.on.ca.

For more information or for an interview with Dr. Linda Goldenhar, please contact:

Uyen Vu
Communications Associate
Institute for Work & Health
613-979-7742
uvu@iwh.on.ca

Cindy Moser
Communications Manager
Institute for Work & Health
416-927-2027, ext. 2183
cmoser@iwh.on.ca