Date: 29 Apr 2012

Effectiveness of participatory training for prevention of musculoskeletal disorders: a randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Purpose

Health and safety training program has been applied to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in workplace. We evaluated the effectiveness of participatory training and didactic training programs on MSD prevention among frontline workers in Shenzhen, China.

Methods

The authors randomly assigned 918 workers from intervention factories to receive participatory training (intervention group), and 907 workers from intervention factories and 1,654 workers from control factories to receive didactic training (control_1 group, control_2 group, respectively) from June 1, 2008 to November 30, 2009. Participants were asked to report experience of ache, pain or discomfort in 10 body parts at baseline and 1 year after training. Data were analyzed to compare the MSD prevalence 1 year before and 1 year after training in different groups from 2009 to 2010.

Results

The follow-up rate was 61 % (2,120/3,479) at 1 year after training. In the year after training, there were no statistically significant changes in the proportion of workers who reported MSD in any body part. MSD prevalence rates in the intervention group reduced from 16.8 to 9.9 % for lower extremities (χ2 = 13.102, p < 0.001) and from 12.9 to 8.3 % (χ2 = 9.433, p = 0.002) for wrist and finger at 1 year after training. However, the rates did not change significantly for upper back, lower back, neck, shoulder and elbow in the intervention group and for all 10 body parts in two control groups.

Conclusions

Overall, the training programs did not seem to prevent the occurrence of MSD among frontline workers. However, participatory training might be effective to reduce MSD in the lower extremities and wrist and finger.