NIOSH research initiatives to prevent back injuries to nursing assistants, aides, and orderlies in nursing homes

Am J Ind Med. 1996 Apr;29(4):421-4. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0274(199604)29:4<421::AID-AJIM30>3.0.CO;2-1.


Over the past 100 years, advances in nutrition, modern medicine, public health, and a multitude of public health improvements have increased the life expectancy of U.S. residents. The fact that Americans are living longer has resulted in extensive growth in our elderly population and a rapid employment growth that delivered about 2 million new jobs between 1980 and 1989 in the health care workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Injury and Illness Data for nursing homes rose from 10.7 to 18.6 injuries or illnesses per 100 full-time workers between 1980 and 1992. The injury and illness rates among nursing home workers are partly due to the physical stress of providing round-the-clock assistance with the basic activities of daily living, such as getting in and out of a bed or chair, as well as bathing and toileting. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is conducting a series of research studies to identify strategies to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries to workers in nursing homes. NIOSH has funded two laboratory evaluations of resident transferring methods and one field study in an actual nursing home. The purpose of this paper is to describe the key findings from past NIOSH research initiatives and to present an overview of future research.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Back Injuries*
  • Bone and Bones / injuries
  • Ergonomics
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)*
  • Nursing Assistants*
  • Nursing Care
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Nursing Staff*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self-Help Devices
  • Stress, Physiological / etiology
  • United States
  • Workforce