2016-06-01 12:00 - Messages

Psychosocial Factors Related to Lateral and Medial Epicondylitis

Results From Pooled Study Analyses
Objective: The goal is to assess the relationships between psychosocial factors and both medial and lateral epicondylitis after adjustment for personal and job physical exposures.
Methods: One thousand eight hundred twenty-four participants were included in pooled analyses. Ten psychosocial factors were assessed.
Results: One hundred twenty-one (6.6%) and 34 (1.9%) participants have lateral and medial epicondylitis, respectively. Nine psychosocial factors assessed had significant trends or associations with lateral epicondylitis, the largest of which was between physical exhaustion after work and lateral epicondylitis with and odds ratio of 7.04 (95% confidence interval?=?2.02 to 24.51). Eight psychosocial factors had significant trends or relationships with medial epicondylitis, with the largest being between mental exhaustion after work with an odds ratio of 6.51 (95% confidence interval?=?1.57 to 27.04).
Conclusions: The breadth and strength of these associations after adjustment for confounding factors demonstrate meaningful relationships that need to be further investigated in prospective analyses.

Source: Thiese, Matthew S.; Hegmann, Kurt T.; Kapellusch, Jay; Merryweather, Andrew; Bao, Stephen; Silverstein, Barbara; Tang, Ruoliang; Garg, Arun. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: June 2016, Volume 58, Issue 6, p. 588-593.

Reducing Physical Risk Factors in Construction Work Through a Participatory Intervention

Protocol for a Mixed-Methods Process Evaluation
Background: Previous research has shown that reducing physical workload among workers in the construction industry is complicated. In order to address this issue, we developed a process evaluation in a formative mixed-methods design, drawing on existing knowledge of the potential barriers for implementation.
Objective: We present the design of a mixed-methods process evaluation of the organizational, social, and subjective practices that play roles in the intervention study, integrating technical measurements to detect excessive physical exertion measured with electromyography and accelerometers, video documentation of working tasks, and a 3-phased workshop program.
Methods: The evaluation is designed in an adapted process evaluation framework, addressing recruitment, reach, fidelity, satisfaction, intervention delivery, intervention received, and context of the intervention companies. Observational studies, interviews, and questionnaires among 80 construction workers organized in 20 work gangs, as well as health and safety staff, contribute to the creation of knowledge about these phenomena.
Results: At the time of publication, the process of participant recruitment is underway.
Conclusions: Intervention studies are challenging to conduct and evaluate in the construction industry, often because of narrow time frames and ever-changing contexts. The mixed-methods design presents opportunities for obtaining detailed knowledge of the practices intra-acting with the intervention, while offering the opportunity to customize parts of the intervention.

Source: Ajslev J, Brandt M, Møller JL, et al. JMIR Research Protocols, Vol 5, No 2 (2016): Apr-Jun.

A multi-faceted workplace intervention targeting low back pain was effective for physical work demands and maladaptive pain behaviours, but not for work ability and sickness absence

Stepped wedge cluster randomised trial
Aims: The aims of this study were to test whether a multi-faceted intervention effective for low back pain was effective for physical capacity, work demands, maladaptive pain behaviours, work ability and sickness absence due to low back pain. Methods: A stepped wedge cluster randomised, controlled trial with 594 nurses' aides was conducted. The intervention lasted 12 weeks and consisted of physical training (12 sessions), cognitive behavioural training (two sessions) and participatory ergonomics (five sessions). Occupational lifting, fear avoidance, physical exertion, muscle strength, support from management, work ability and sickness absence due to low back pain were measured every 3 months. Before and after the intervention we measured physical capacity, kinesiophobia and need for recovery. Linear mixed models adjusted for baseline values of the outcome were used to estimate the effect. Results: Significant reduction in occupational lifting (–0.35 (95% confidence interval −0.61 to −0.08)), and improvement in two measures of fear avoidance ((–0.75 (95% confidence interval −1.05 to −0.45) and −0.45 (95% confidence interval −0.80 to −0.11)) were found for the intervention group compared to the control. There were no significant effects on physical exertion, muscle strength, support from management, work ability or sickness absence due to low back pain. After the intervention, significant increased physical capacity and improvements in kinesiophobia were found, but no change in need for recovery. Conclusions: The intervention was significantly effective for physical work demands and maladaptive pain behaviours, but not for work ability and sickness absence due to low back pain. To improve work ability or reduce sickness absence due to low back pain more specific interventions should probably be developed.

Source: Rasmussen CD, Holtermann A, Jørgensen MB, et al. Journal of Public Health, 2016.

New NIOSH Android App Addresses Ergonomics in Mining

A new mobile app for ergonomic audits in the mining industry is now available from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The app, ErgoMine, is available for Android devices and provides an ergonomic assessment for three types of operations in the mining industry: bagging, maintenance and repair, and haul truck operations. By asking users a series of questions about work tasks and worksite conditions, ErgoMine produces recommendations for ergonomic improvements in a final summary which details the results of the audit. The app also provides the option for users to email the recommendations to themselves or others for further review.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/updates/upd-06-14-16-b.html

Call Center Productivity Over 6 Months Following a Standing Desk Intervention

Background: Many office employees are spending up to 90% of their workday seated, and employers are considering stand-capable desks as a way to increase physical activity throughout the day. When deciding on adoption of stand-capable workstations, a major concern for employers is that the benefits, over time, may not offset the initial cost of implementation.
Methods: This study compared objective measures of productivity over time between a group of stand-capable desk users and a seated control group in a call center. Comparison analysis was completed for continuous six-month secondary data for 167 employees, across two job categories.
Results: Users of stand-capable desks were ∼45% more productive on a daily basis compared to their seated counterparts. Further, productivity of the stand-capable desk users significantly increased over time, from ∼23% in the first month to ∼53% over the next six months. Finally, this productivity increase was similar for employees across both job categories.
Conclusions: These findings suggest important benefits of employing stand-capable desks in the work force to increase productivity. Prospective studies that include employee health status, perceptions of (dis)comfort and preference over time, along with productivity metrics, are needed to test the effectiveness of stand-capable desks on employee health and performance.

Source: Garrett, Gregory, Benden, Mark, Mehta, Ranjana, Pickens, Adam, Peres, Camille, & Zhao, Hongwei. (2016). IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors.

The Effects of Workplace Physical Activity Programs on Musculoskeletal Pain

A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
This article reviews the effectiveness of physical activity (PA) interventions at the workplace to reduce musculoskeletal pain among employees and assesses the effect size of these programs using meta-analysis. Four databases (i.e., PubMed, EBSCO, Web of Science, and Cochrane) were searched for research trials, which included comparison groups of employees that assessed PA programs, musculoskeletal pain, and health-related behaviors, published between January 1990 and March 2013. The meta-analysis estimates of standardized mean differences (Hedges' g) present significant evidence of less general pain (g = −.40 with a 95% confidence interval [CI] = [−0.78, −0.02]) and neck and shoulder pain (g = −.37 with a 95% CI = [−0.63, −0.12]) in intervention groups. The few studies of low back pain and arm, elbow, wrist, hand, or finger pain did not present sufficient statistically significant evidence. Consistent evidence demonstrates that workplace PA interventions significantly reduce general musculoskeletal pain and neck and shoulder pain. More studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of work-related PA interventions for arm, elbow, wrist, hand or finger, and low back pain.

Source: Moreira-Silva, Isabel, Teixeira, Pedro M., Santos, Rute, Abreu, Sandra, Moreira, Carlos, & Mota, Jorge. (2016). Workplace Health & Safety, 64 (5), p. 210-222. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2165079916629688

Posture and lifting exposures for daycare workers

Daycare employees, specifically caregivers, are a distinct population that may experience increased risk of injury due to the high exposure to bent postures, lifting conditions and high stress associated with their work. The objectives of the study were to collect up to date data on daycare workers and to compare the data between groups working with children of different ages (Infant, Toddler and Preschool). 
The study consisted of two distinct phases: Phase 1 – Questionnaire distribution, Phase 2 – Observation and analysis involving three dimensional postural monitoring and video recording as well as an analysis of the low back forces and moments in lifting.
Results suggested that these employees experience an elevated risk of low back injury caused by their occupational tasks and thus, further research is required to determine appropriate worker accommodations and safe work practices to help mediate these risks for all daycare caregivers.

Source: Labaj, Adam, Diesbourg, Tara, Dumas, Geneviève, Plamondon, André, Mercheri, Hakim, & Larue, Christian. (2016). International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 54 (7), p. 83-92.

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