2018-11-01 12:00 - Messages

Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders, a tri-sector exploration

High rates of WRMSD-related sick leave put pressure on employers and businesses, hitting their bottom lines and potentially leading to understaffing, reduced productivity and lower staff morale. Directly affected workers not only suffer pain but also consequences that can be felt across their working, home and social lives.
The construction, healthcare and transportation and storage industries were selected as the focus of this research because they have significantly higher rates of WRMSDs compared with the average rate for all industry. Qualitative research was commissioned to:
- Explore what employers and workers knew about WRMSDs and regulation.
- Explore employers' attitudes and perceptions of WRMSDs, their approaches to prevention and management and what was limiting engagement with health and safety issues.
- Explore the journeys of workers and how they have managed health challenges in relation to WRMSDs.
- Uncover the needs of ‘both sides' to highlight barriers and opportunities regarding future intervention, communication and campaign strategies.
- Understand current workplace practice and inspire improvements in WRMSD prevention and management.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/insight/msd-report.pdf

Mechanical and psychosocial work exposures: the construction and evaluation of a gender-specific job exposure matrix (JEM)

Objectives: The aim of this study was to (i) construct and evaluate a gender-specific job exposure matrix (JEM) for mechanical and psychosocial work exposures and (ii) test its predictive validity for low-back pain.
Methods: We utilized data from the Norwegian nationwide Survey of Living Conditions on work environment in 2006 and 2009. We classified occupations on a 4-digit level based on the Norwegian version of the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-88). The mechanical and psychosocial exposure information was collected by personal telephone interviews and included exposures that were known risk factors for low-back pain. We evaluated the agreement between the individual- and JEM-based exposure estimates, with kappa, sensitivity and specificity measures. We assessed the JEM's predictive validity by testing the associations between low-back pain and the individual- and JEM-based exposure.
Results: The results showed an overall fair-to-moderate agreement between the constructed JEM and individual work exposures. The JEM performed considerably better for mechanical work exposures compared with psychosocial work exposures. The predictive validity of the mechanical and psychosocial JEM showed a consistently lower but predominantly reproducible association with low-back pain for both genders.
Conclusions: The mechanical estimates and psychosocial stressors, such as psychological demands, monotonous work and decision latitude in the constructed JEM, may be useful in large epidemiological register studies. The predictive validity of the matrix was evaluated as being overall acceptable and can be an effective and versatile approach to estimate the relationship work exposures and low-back pain.

Source: Hanvold, T. N., Sterud, T., Kristensen, P. et Mehlum, I. S. (2018). Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health.

Exosquelettes au travail : impact sur la santé et la sécurité des opérateurs état des connaissances

Ce guide, destiné aux préventeurs, fait un point sur les connaissances actuelles des exosquelettes afin de mettre en évidence les intérêts et les limites de leur usage en matière de prévention des troubles musculosquelettiques (TMS).
L'objectif est d'aider à mieux appréhender l'impact des exosquelettes pour accompagner efficacement l'entreprise dans sa démarche d'acquisition et d'intégration d'un exosquelette.

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/media.html?refINRS=ED%206311

Musculoskeletal disorders of agricultural workers in the greenhouses of Almería (Southeast Spain)

In southeast Spain (Almería), we find the highest concentration of greenhouse crops in Europe, an agricultural sector that directly employs 55,000 people. The objective of this research was to evaluate the musculoskeletal working conditions of greenhouse workers through the standardized Nordic questionnaire. This questionnaire presents 28 multiple choice questions referring to different parts of the body. A total of 1002 questionnaires were completed, and information was collected on nine socio-demographic variables for each worker: sex, age, height, weight, surface area, cultivation, staking, greenhouse and nationality. Although the results show a high overall rate of symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), these findings do not mean that the workers are unable to perform agricultural tasks.

Source: López-Aragón, L., López-Liria, R., Callejón-Ferre, Á. J. et Pérez-Alonso, J. (2018). Safety Science, 109, 219-235.

Acute Effects of Interrupting Sitting on Discomfort and Alertness of Office Workers

Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the effect of 4 hours of sitting interrupted with hourly bouts of standing and/or pedaling versus uninterrupted sitting on alertness and discomfort among sedentary office workers.
Methods: Fifteen middle-aged sedentary workers were randomized to three 4-hour conditions: (1) uninterrupted sitting; (2) sitting interrupted with 10 minutes of standing/hour; and (3) sitting interrupted with 10 minutes of pedaling/hour. Self-reported measures of alertness and discomfort were collected.
Results: Uninterrupted sitting significantly increased discomfort (P < 0.001). Discomfort was lower in both the standing (P < 0.001) and pedaling (P < 0.001) conditions than the uninterrupted sitting condition. Short-lived improvements in alertness were observed immediately following several standing (50%) and pedaling (100%) interruptions.
Conclusion: Prolonged sitting increases discomfort while brief standing and pedaling interruptions attenuate impairments in discomfort among sedentary workers.

Source: Benzo, R. M., Kruse, N. T., Hughes, W. E., Casey, D. P. et Carr, L. J. (2018). Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 60(9), 804-809.

Participatory organizational intervention for improved use of assistive devices in patient transfer

A single-blinded cluster randomized controlled trial
Objectives: This randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluated the effect of a participatory organizational intervention for improved use of assistive devices (AD) in patient transfer.
Methods: We randomly allocated 27 departments from five hospitals in Denmark to a participatory intervention (14 clusters, 316 healthcare workers) or a control group (13 clusters, 309 healthcare workers). The intervention consisted of 2×2 hour workshops with managers, the hospital's health and safety staff, and 2–5 healthcare workers from each department. Based on an assessment of barriers and solutions conducted prior to randomization, participants developed an action plan for implementing department-specific solutions for improving the use of AD. Use of necessary AD (using digital counters as primary outcome), and general use of AD (using accelerometers as secondary outcome), pain intensity in the low-back, work-related back injuries during patient transfer, and communication and guidance in the use of AD were measured at baseline, 6 and 12 months.
Results: Use of necessary AD (primary outcome), low-back pain, and back injuries did not change in the intervention compared with control group at 12-month follow-up. However, general use of AD measured with accelerometers as well as communication and guidance improved significantly in the intervention versus control group.
Conclusion: The intervention did not result in more frequent use of the necessary AD but led to more general use of AD, as well as increased communication and guidance.

Source: Jakobsen, M. D., Aust, B., Kines, P., Madeleine, P. et Andersen, L. L. (2018). Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health.

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