Searching for needles in a haystack

Identifying innovations to prevent MSDs in the construction sector
This study identified innovations that could potentially reduce the risk of MSDs in the construction sector. The action research approach was based on a collaborative model of researchers working with workplace representatives. We searched for innovations being used by construction companies. From a potential database of 125 innovations, the study focused on 20 innovations that varied in their penetration into worksites in the geographical area, represented a variety of trades, and were a cross-section of tools and work organizational processes. It examined the attributes of the innovations, and the barriers to their adoption. The analysis was based on observations of workers, surveys of workers and construction-safety consultants, and company interviews. The study found that innovations were adopted by companies for multiple advantages including productivity and quality, but not necessarily ability to reduce MSD risks, their non-complexity, and cost. The major barriers for adoption were the traditional culture of the construction sector rather than financial ones.

Source : Applied Ergonomics, vol. 41, no 4, July 2010, p. 577-584

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