Participatory ergonomics to reduce exposure to psychosocial and physical risk factors for low back pain and neck pain: results of a cluster randomised controlled trial.Occup Environ Med. 2011 Sep; 68(9):674-81.OE
This study investigated the effectiveness of the Stay@Work participatory ergonomics programme to reduce workers' exposure to psychosocial and physical risk factors.
37 departments (n=3047 workers) from four Dutch companies participated in this cluster randomised controlled trial; 19 (n=1472 workers) were randomised to an intervention group (participatory ergonomics) and 18 (n=1575 workers) to a control group (no participatory ergonomics). During a 6 h meeting guided by an ergonomist, working groups devised ergonomic measures to reduce psychosocial and physical workload and implemented them within 3months in their departments. Data on psychosocial and physical risk factors for low back pain and neck pain were collected at baseline and after 6 months. Psychosocial risk factors were measured using the Job Content Questionnaire and physical risk factors using the Dutch Musculoskeletal Questionnaire. Intervention effects were studied using multilevel analysis.
Intervention group workers significantly increased on decision latitude (0.29 points; 95% CI 0.07 to 0.52) and decision authority (0.16 points; 95% CI 0.04 to 0.28) compared to control workers. However, exposure to awkward trunk working postures significantly increased in the intervention group (OR 1.86; 95% CI 1.15 to 3.01) compared to the control group. No significant differences between the intervention and control group were found for the remaining risk factors. After 6months, loss to follow-up was 35% in the intervention group and 29% in the control group.
Participatory ergonomics was not effective in reducing exposure to psychosocial and physical risk factors for low back pain and neck pain among a large group of workers.