Ergonomic best practices in masonry: regional differences, benefits, barriers, and recommendations for dissemination

J Occup Environ Hyg. 2010 Aug;7(8):446-55. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2010.484795.


Within construction the masonry trade has particularly high rates of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). A NIOSH-sponsored meeting of masonry stakeholders explored current and potential "Best Practices" for reducing MSDs in masonry and identified potential regional differences in use of practices. To verify and better understand the regional effects and other factors associated with differences in practice use, a national telephone survey of masonry contractors was conducted. The United States was divided into four regions for evaluation: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and West Coast. Nine practices with the potential to reduce MSDs in masonry workers were evaluated. Masonry contractors, owners, and foremen completed 183 surveys. The results verify regional differences in use of best practices in masonry. Half-weight cement bags and autoclave aerated concrete were rarely used anywhere, while lightweight block and mortar silos appear to be diffusing across the country. The Northeast uses significantly fewer best practices than other regions. This article examines reasons for regional differences in masonry best practice, and findings provide insight into use and barriers to adoption that can be used by safety managers, researchers, and other safety advocates to more effectively disseminate ergonomic solutions across the masonry industry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / prevention & control*
  • Construction Materials
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Ergonomics*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S.
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • United States