Work-related activities associated with injury in occupational and physical therapists

Work. 2012;42(3):373-84. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2012-1430.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine work activities associated with work-related injury (WRI) in occupational and physical therapy.

Participants: 1,158 occupational and physical therapists in Wisconsin responded to a mailed survey, from a total of 3,297 OTs and PTs randomly selected from the State licensure list.

Methods: The study used a cross-sectional, survey design. Participants reported information about WRI they sustained between 2004 and 2006, including the activities they were performing when injured. Investigators analyzed 248 injury incidents using qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Results: Data were examined across OT and PT practice in general, and also by practice area. Manual therapy and transfers/lifts were associated with 54% of all injuries. Other activities associated with injury were distinct to practice area, for example: floor work in pediatrics; functional activities in acute care; patient falls in skilled nursing facilities; and motor vehicle activities in home care.

Conclusions: Injury prevention activities must address transfers and manual therapy, but also must examine setting-specific activities influenced by environment and patient population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / etiology
  • Ergonomics / psychology
  • Ergonomics / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Moving and Lifting Patients / psychology
  • Moving and Lifting Patients / statistics & numerical data
  • Musculoskeletal System / injuries*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Health Services / methods
  • Occupational Therapy* / methods
  • Physical Therapists / psychology*
  • Physical Therapists / statistics & numerical data
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / adverse effects
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology
  • Workforce
  • Workload / psychology
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data