Introduction Work-related musculoskeletal problems (WMSP) are amongst the most frequent and costly health problems experienced by the working population. Both adverse physical and psychosocial work factors can lead to WMSP. The Healthy Enterprise Standard (HES) targets four intervention areas, including the Workplace environment and the Management practices areas. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of HES interventions targeting both these areas simultaneously on the prevalence of adverse physical and psychosocial work factors and of WMSP.
Methods This was an intervention study with a before-after design derived from secondary data. Organisations adopted the standard of their own initiative and were responsible for implementing interventions. All active employees were solicited to participate before (T1=2849) and 24–38 months (T2=2560) following the standard’s implementation. At both time points, participants completed a questionnaire. Physical work factors were measured with five items. Psychosocial work factors were assessed with the validated demand-control-support and effort-reward imbalance models. WMSP were measured with four items adapted from the Nordic Questionnaire. Intervention exposure was measured by questionnaire and complemented by qualitative analyses.
Result There was an increase from T1 to T2 in adverse physical and psychosocial work factors as well as the prevalence of WMSP. The rate of adverse physical work factors at T2 was lower amongst participants exposed to interventions in the Workplace environment area of the HES. The prevalence of adverse psychosocial work factors at T2 was lower amongst participants exposed to interventions in the Management practices. However, the T2 prevalence of WMSP was similar between participants simultaneously exposed to interventions in both areas of interest and those not exposed to these interventions.
Discussion These results suggest that this type of intervention may be effective in reducing workers’ occupational exposure to risk factors associated with WMSP and therefore be an effective strategy to prevent WMSP.