Results of a pilot intervention to improve health and safety for health care workers

J Occup Environ Med. 2013 Dec;55(12):1449-55. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182a7e65a.


Objective: To test the feasibility of a multicomponent pilot intervention to improve worker safety and wellness in two Boston hospitals.

Methods: A 3-month intervention was conducted on seven hospital units. Pre- (374 workers) and postsurveys (303 workers) assessed changes in safety/ergonomic behaviors and practices, and social support. Wellness outcomes included self-reported pain/aching in specific body areas (musculoskeletal disorders or MSDs) and physical activity (PA).

Results: Pain was reported frequently (81%), and PA averaged 4 hours per week. There was a postintervention increase in safe patient handling (P < 0.0001), safety practices (P = 0.0004), ergonomics (P = 0.009), and supervisor support (P = 0.01), but no changes in MSDs or PA.

Conclusions: Safe patient handling, ergonomics, and safety practices are good targets for worker safety and wellness interventions; longer intervention periods may reduce the risk of MSDs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ergonomics
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion*
  • Hospitals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Moving and Lifting Patients* / adverse effects
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / prevention & control*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Pilot Projects
  • Social Support