Health-care workers are at a high risk of developing musculoskeletal symptoms, injuries and disorders, particularly low-back pain. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in health-care workers have been attributed in large part to patient transfer and lifting activities. As a result, mechanical patient handling and transfer devices have been a major focus of efforts for prevention. Numerous health-care facilities have instituted “zero-lift” policies banning manual lifting. Yet research suggests MSDs in health-care settings may result from non-patient handling activities as well, such as patient-related assaults, maintenance work, and slips, trips and falls.
The Institute for Work & Health carried out a systematic review to identify studies that evaluated the effects of occupational safety and health interventions on MSDs among health-care workers due to all activities. This report details the methods and findings of this systematic review, as well as its recommendations about improving work-related MSD outcomes.