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RR626 - Feasibility of carrying out an ergonomics intervention study to prevent the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders

Summary

This work is in response to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) tender specification entitled:
“Feasibility of Assessing the Effectiveness of Preventative Workplace Ergonomic
Interventions”. This requested an examination of the feasibility of assessing the effectiveness of
such interventions to prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Reducing the risk of workers
suffering these problems would reduce the resultant burden of pain, medical treatment and
work-loss.

Preventative (primary) interventions are distinct from secondary interventions, as these are
aimed at preventing chronic disability in individuals already experiencing musculoskeletal
problems, and from tertiary interventions, which are aimed at rehabilitating or getting back to
work individuals suffering from chronic musculoskeletal disorders.

This report reviews existing models of causation of MSDs, reviews the scientific literature on
interventions to prevent MSDs, and summarises the relevant epidemiological methods and
research protocols. It illustrates the methodological issues through an example project plan and
provides checklists for evaluating proposals and reports of randomised intervention studies.

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Updated 2010-03-19