Article Text

other Versions

PDF
Participatory ergonomics to reduce exposure to psychosocial and physical risk factors for low back pain and neck pain: results of a cluster randomised controlled trial
  1. Maurice T Driessen1,2,
  2. Karin I Proper1,2,
  3. Johannes R Anema1,2,
  4. Dirk L Knol3,
  5. Paulien M Bongers1,2,4,
  6. Allard J van der Beek1,2
  1. 1Body@Work, TNO VUmc, Research Center on Physical Activity, Work and Health, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Public and Occupational Health and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  4. 4TNO Quality of Life, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Johannes R Anema, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Department of Public and Occupational Health, van der Boechorststraat 7, Amsterdam 1081 BT, The Netherlands; h.anema{at}vumc.nl

Abstract

Objectives This study investigated the effectiveness of the Stay@Work participatory ergonomics programme to reduce workers′ exposure to psychosocial and physical risk factors.

Methods 37 departments (n=3047 workers) from four Dutch companies participated in this cluster randomised controlled trial; 19 (n=1472 workers) were randomised to an intervention group (participatory ergonomics) and 18 (n=1575 workers) to a control group (no participatory ergonomics). During a 6 h meeting guided by an ergonomist, working groups devised ergonomic measures to reduce psychosocial and physical workload and implemented them within 3 months in their departments. Data on psychosocial and physical risk factors for low back pain and neck pain were collected at baseline and after 6 months. Psychosocial risk factors were measured using the Job Content Questionnaire and physical risk factors using the Dutch Musculoskeletal Questionnaire. Intervention effects were studied using multilevel analysis.

Results Intervention group workers significantly increased on decision latitude (0.29 points; 95% CI 0.07 to 0.52) and decision authority (0.16 points; 95% CI 0.04 to 0.28) compared to control workers. However, exposure to awkward trunk working postures significantly increased in the intervention group (OR 1.86; 95% CI 1.15 to 3.01) compared to the control group. No significant differences between the intervention and control group were found for the remaining risk factors. After 6 months, loss to follow-up was 35% in the intervention group and 29% in the control group.

Conclusion Participatory ergonomics was not effective in reducing exposure to psychosocial and physical risk factors for low back pain and neck pain among a large group of workers.

Trial registration ISRCTN27472278.

  • Participatory ergonomics
  • RCT
  • risk factors
  • back pain
  • neck pain
  • ergonomics
  • musculoskeletal
  • workload

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Footnotes

  • Funding This study was funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Medical Ethics Committee of the VU University Medical Center.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.