Work-related MSDs are defined as, “disorders or injuries of muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, joints, or spinal discs that are caused or aggravated by work activities.”
Of all occupational injuries or illnesses among workers in Massachusetts hospitals, about half are work-related musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs. The rate of MSDs among Massachusetts hospital workers is, on average, almost twice that of the national rate. Decreasing the rate of work-related MSDs in Massachusetts is important not only because of the impact on the health of workers, but also because of the large direct and indirect costs associated with work-related MSDs.
Surveillance and prevention
In response to the high rate of work-related MSDs in Massachusetts hospital workers, the Occupational Health Surveillance Program (OHSP) has instituted the Hospital Ergonomics Task Force with the goal of developing recommendations regarding the surveillance and prevention of MSDs among hospital workers. The Hospital Ergonomics Task Force comprises representatives from hospitals, health care worker unions and government agencies, as well as academic researchers and ergonomics experts. Initially the focus of the Hospital Ergonomics Task Force will be Safe Patient Handling (SPH) programs, which have been demonstrated to be effective in preventing patient handling injuries, and thus work-related MSDs.
Safe patient handling
Reports and publications
- Home Modification Information Clearinghouse: Transferring People with Disabilities Evidence Based Research: June 2009. The effectiveness of ceiling hoists in transferring people with disabilities (PDF)
- Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare Beyond Getting Started: A Resource Guide for Implementing a Safe Patient Handling Program in the Acute Care Setting
- Facility Guidelines Institute: Patient Handling and Movement Assessments: A White Paper
- Washington State Department of Labor: Implementation of Safe Patient Handling in Washington State Hospitals
- United States Food and Drug Administration: Patient Lifts
- Americans with Disabilities Act: Access to Medical Care for Individuals with Mobility Disabilities
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Scoring System Helps Choose Approaches and Devices for Safely Moving Patients, Leading to Fewer Staff Injuries and Lost Work Days
- CDC- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):
- United States Veteran’s Administration:
- Alamgir H, Li OW, Gorman E, Fast C, Yu S, Kidd C. 2009. Evaluation of Ceiling Lifts in Health Care Settings Patient Outcome and Perceptions. AAOHN 57:374-380.
- Badii M, Keen D, Yu S, Yassi A. 2006. Evaluation of a comprehensive integrated workplace-based program to reduce occupational musculoskeletal injury and its associated morbidity in a large hospital. J Occup Environ Med 48: 1159-1165.
- Fujishiro K, Weaver JL, Heaney CA, Hamrick CA, Marras WS. 2005. The effect of ergonomic interventions in healthcare facilities on musculoskeletal disorders. Am J Ind Med 48:338-347.
- Garg A, Kapellusch J M.2012. Long-Term Efficacy of an Ergonomics Program that Includes Patient-Handling Devices on Reducing Musculoskeletal Injuries to Nursing Personnel. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
- Lipscomb HJ, Schoenfisch AL, Myers DJ, Pompeii LA, Dement JM. 2012. Evaluation of direct workers' compensation costs for musculoskeletal injuries surrounding interventions to reduce patient lifting. Occup Environ Med 69: 367-372.
- Martimo KP, Verbeek J, Karppinen J, Furlan AD, Takala EP, Kuiker PPFM, Jauhiainen M, Viikari-Juntura E. 2008. Effect of training and lifting equipment for preventing back pain in lifting and handling: systematic review. BMJ 336:429-431.
- Park RM, Bushnell PT, Bailer AJ, Collins JW, Stayner LT. 2009. Impact of publicly sponsored interventions on musculoskeletal injury claims in nursing homes. Am J Ind Med 52:683-697
- Ronald LA, Yassi A, Spiegel J, Tate RB, Tait D, Mozel MR. 2002. Effectiveness of installing overhead ceiling lifts. Reducing musculoskeletal injuries in an extended care hospital unit. AAOHN Journal 50:120-127.
- Schoenfisch AL, Lipscomb HJ, Pompeii LA, Myers DJ, Dement JM. 2012. Musculoskeletal injuries among hospital patient care staff before and after implementation of patient lift and transfer equipment. Scand J Work Environ Health. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.3288. [Epub ahead of print]
- Schoenfisch AL, Myers DJ, Pompeii LA, Lipscomb HJ. 2011. Implementation and adoption of mechanical patient lift equipment in the hospital setting: The importance of organizational and cultural factors. Am J Ind Med 54:946-954.
- Smedley J, Trevelyan F, Inskip H, Buckle P, Cooper C, Coggon D. 2003. Impact of ergonomic intervention on back pain among nurses. Scand J Work Environ Health 29: 117-123.
- Spiegel J, Yassi A, Ronald LA, Tate RB, Hacking P, Colby T. 2002. Implementing a resident lifting system in an extended care hospital. Demonstrating cost-benefit. AAOHN Journal 50:128-134.
- Tullar JM, Brewer S, Amick BC 3rd, Irvin E, Mahood Q, Pompeii LA, Wang A, Van Eerd D, Gimeno D, Evanoff B. 2010. Occupational safety and health interventions to reduce musculoskeletal symptoms in the health care sector. J Occup Rehabil 20: 199-219.
- Verbeek J, Martimo KP, Karppinen J, Kuijer PP, Takala EP, Viikari-Juntura, E. 2012. Manual material handling advice and assistive devices for preventing and treating back pain in workers: a Cochrane Systematic Review. Occup Environ Med 69:79-80.
- Yassi A, Hancock T. 2005. Patient Safety – Worker Safety: Building a Culture of Safety to Improve Healthcare Worker and Patient Well-Being. Healthcare Quarterly 8(Sp):32-38.