Role of workplace interventions to prevent upper extremity MSDs: a systematic review

Reasons for the study

Injuries to the upper extremity are common among workers, accounting for about 30 per cent of lost-time claims in Ontario in 2006. The upper extremity includes the neck, shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. This systematic review looked at the effectiveness of interventions to prevent upper extremity disorders and traumatic injuries. This systematic review was updated in 2016.

Progress

This review, completed in 2008, found moderate evidence that arm supports were beneficial in protecting upper extremity health. They also found that several interventions did not work. There was strong evidence that workstation adjustments were not effective if they were done alone — but the combination of adjustments and ergonomic training did seem to convey a benefit. There was also moderate evidence that biofeedback training and job stress management training had no effect on protecting upper extremity health.

Related research summaries

Do workplace programs protect upper extremity musculoskeletal health?. Sharing Best Evidence: Institute for Work & Health, February 2009.

Related scientific publications

Kennedy CA, Amick B, Dennerlein JT, Brewer S, Catli S, Williams R, Serra C, Gerr F, Irvin E, Mahood Q, Franzblau A, Van Eerd D, Evanoff B, Rempel D. Systematic review of the role of occupational health and safety interventions in the prevention of upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms, signs, disorders, injuries, claims and lost time. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 2010;20(2):127-162. doi:10.1007/s10926-009-9211-2.
Amick B, Kennedy-Yee CA, Dennerlein JT, Brewer S, Catli S, Williams R, Serra C, Gerr F, Irvin E, Mahood Q, Franzblau A, Van Eerd D, Evanoff B, Rempel D. Systematic review of the role of occupational health and safety interventions in the prevention of upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms, signs, disorders, injuries, claims and lost time . Institute for Work & Health; 2008.

Project status

Completed

Research team

Ben Amick, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
Carol Kennedy, Institute for Work & Health
Jack Dennerlein, University of Texas
Shelley Brewer, Chemplan Inc.
Starly Catli, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario
Renee Williams, McMaster University
Consol Serra, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona)
Fred Gerr, University of Iowa
Emma Irvin, Institute for Work & Health
Quenby Mahood, Institute for Work & Health
Al Franzblau, University of Michigan
Dwayne Van Eerd, Institute for Work & Health
Bradley Evanoff, Washington University at St. Louis
David Rempel, University of California-San Francisco