The effects of occupational interventions on reduction of musculoskeletal symptoms in the nursing profession

Ergonomics. 2006 Jun 10;49(7):706-23. doi: 10.1080/00140130600578005.


The objective of the review was to gain more insight into the effects of occupational interventions for primary prevention of musculoskeletal symptoms in healthcare workers. The Cochrane Collaboration methodological guidelines for systematic reviews functioned as a starting point. Thirteen studies meeting the inclusion criteria were analysed for methodological quality and effects. Eight outcome effect areas were established and defined as areas in which an effect had been determined in at least two studies. A method based on levels of scientific evidence was then used to synthesize the information available. Strong scientific evidence for the beneficial effect of occupational interventions was found for the outcome effect areas physical discomfort, technical performance of transfers and frequency of manual lifting. Insufficient evidence was found for the effect areas absenteeism due to musculoskeletal problems, musculoskeletal symptoms, fatigue, perceived physical load and knowledge of risk factors at work and ergonomic principles. Training and education combined with an ergonomic intervention were found to be effective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ergonomics
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Netherlands
  • Nursing*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Health Services*
  • Primary Prevention*
  • Program Evaluation