Participatory ergonomics: determining injury control "buy-in" of US Army cadre

Work. 2002;18(2):191-203.


Overuse injuries account for the majority of lost duty time profiles for soldiers attending Advanced Individual Training (AIT) to become a Combat Medic at Ft. Sam Houston (63% for men and 74% for women). An intervention program was initiated with two AIT Battalions (BN) in an effort to reduce overuse injuries. The purpose of this paper is to describe methods of tracking the participation of supervisors during the intervention program. Methods used to monitor participation included recording the number of coordinating meetings, keeping minutes of advisory committee meetings, and conducting perception surveys. Over an 18-month period, the number of coordinating meetings decreased. Surveys identified the opinions, values, and self-identified roles of supervisors (drill sergeants and cadre) in regard to injury prevention with their assigned student-soldiers before and after an intervention program. At the initiation of the injury control program, 103 individuals completed a 27 question, anonymous survey to assist planners with developing a strategy that would encourage participation of cadre and drill sergeants in preventing injuries. One year later, 191 individuals from the same battalion completed the same survey. Results revealed a slight, statistically insignificant, decrease in supervisors' perception of the presence of overuse injuries in their BN (31.4% vs. 27.4%, p>0.05), and the level of acceptable injuries moved from the 16-30% range to the 1-10% range (chi2=4.65, p<0.05). Post-intervention, more supervisors believed their physical training programs could impact overuse injuries (pre 20.4% vs. post 31.6%, Chi2=6.7, p<0.01). The results reveal several methods to track the involvement of participants, to develop intervention strategies, and to monitor cultural shifts necessary to the injury control process.

MeSH terms

  • Ergonomics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*