Is There an Economic Case for Training Intervention in the Manual Material Handling Sector of Developing Countries?

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To estimate cost-effectiveness ratios and net costs of a training intervention to reduce morbidity among porters who carry loads without mechanical assistance in a developing country informal sector setting.


Pre- and post-intervention survey data (n = 100) were collected in a prospective study: differences in physical/mental composite scores and pain scale scores were computed. Costs and economic benefits of the intervention were monetized with a net-cost model.


Significant changes in physical composite scores (2.5), mental composite scores (3.2), and pain scale scores (−1.0) led to cost-effectiveness ratios of $6.97, $5.41, and $17.91, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that program adherence enhanced effectiveness. The net cost of the intervention was −$5979.00 due to a reduction in absenteeism.


Workplace ergonomic training is cost-effective and should be implemented wherein other engineering-control interventions are precluded due to infrastructural constraints.

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