Effectiveness of participatory ergonomics interventions: a systematic review

Reasons for the study

There is evidence that the inappropriate design of workplaces and work processes contributes significantly to the development of common work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). By improving ergonomic aspects of work and workplaces, it should be possible to prevent or reduce these disorders and increase productivity. IWH conducted a systematic review to summarize the existing scientific literature on the effectiveness of workplace-based participatory ergonomics interventions in improving workers' health.


Completed in 2005, this systematic review found enough evidence to recommend the use of PE interventions as a way to improve health outcomes. The review team also developed a set of recommendations aimed at improving how such research is designed and evaluated.

Related research summaries

Effectiveness of participatory ergonomics: summary of a systematic review . Sharing Best Evidence: Institute for Work & Health, February 2005.

Related scientific publications

Rivilis I, Van Eerd D, Cullen KL, Cole DC, Irvin E, Tyson J, Mahood Q. Effectiveness of participatory ergonomic interventions on health outcomes: a systematic review. Applied Ergonomics. 2008;39(3):342-358. doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2007.08.006.
Cole D, Rivilis I, Van Eerd D, Cullen KL, Irvin E, Kramer D. Effectiveness of participatory ergonomic interventions: a systematic review. Institute for Work & Health; 2005.

Project status


Research team

Donald Cole, Institute for Work & Health
Irina Rivilis, Institute for Work & Health
Dwayne Van Eerd, Institute for Work & Health
Kim Cullen, Institute for Work & Health
Emma Irvin, Institute for Work & Health
Desre Kramer, Institute for Work & Health

Funded by

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario