Evaluation of a Participatory Ergonomic Intervention Aimed at Improving Musculoskeletal Health

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BackgroundParticipatory ergonomic (PE) interventions have been increasingly utilized to deal with work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD).MethodsUsing 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.ResultsChanges 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).ConclusionsA 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. Am. J. Ind. Med. 49:801-810, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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