Evaluation of a participatory ergonomic intervention aimed at improving musculoskeletal health

Publication type
Journal article
Authors
Rivilis I Cole DC Frazer MB Kerr MS Wells RP Ibrahim S
Date published
2006 Oct 01
Journal
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume
49
Issue
10
Pages
801-810
PMID
16960887
Open Access?
No
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Participatory ergonomic (PE) interventions have been increasingly utilized to deal with work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD). METHODS: Using a longitudinal quasi-experimental design, a PE process was launched at one depot of a large courier company, with a nearby depot serving as a control. Evaluations focused on 122 employees across the two depots who participated in both pre- and post-questionnaires. An evaluation framework assessed the process of implementation, changes in risk factors, and changes in musculoskeletal health outcomes. Partial and multiple regressions explored the relationships in the evaluation framework. RESULTS: Changes in work organizational factors had a consistent impact upon changes in health outcomes. Greater participation in the process was associated with increased levels of job influence and communication (P = 0.0059 and P = 0.0940 respectively). Improvements in communication levels were associated with reduced pain intensity and improved work role function (WRF) (P = 0.0077 and P = 0.0248 respectively). Lower levels of pain post-intervention were related to greater WRF (P = 0.0493). CONCLUSIONS: A PE approach can improve risk factors related to WMSD, and meaningful worker participation in the process is an important aspect for the success of such interventions