Construction workers' perception and use of assistive devices in regards to musculoskeletal deterioration: a qualitative study

Tidsskriftartikel - 2011

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[Open access] Background: Workers in the construction industry are faced with a high degree of occupational hazards, one being physical wear and tear. Yet this phenomenon remains largely unexplored as there is a lack of both scientific terminological consistency, and of the actual specified numbers of cases with lost working ability. This results in an unspecific field of musculoskeletal deterioration (MD) and unclear possibilities for identifying the effects of countermeasures, such as the use of assistive devices (AD). Objective: The aim of this paper is to examine construction workers' understanding of occupational MD and AD, and their use of AD as countermeasures to MD. Method: Semi-structured interviews with road/bridge construction workers and work-alone carpenters are carried out to gain knowledge about workers' understanding of accidents and MD, as well as their use of AD and personal protective equipment. Results: The constructions workers generally do not perceive the use of AD as obvious countermeasures to MD. As opposed to accidents and injuries, MD is generally perceived as an inevitable part of the occupational activity. Conclusions: The presence, planning, instruction, motivation for and correct use of AD are vital for actual counteractions of MD and need to be aligned with realistic production and safety goals. Educational measures are needed to promote managers' and workers' knowledge of the benefits of using AD to prevent MD. Furthermore, there is a need for extended inquiry into the phenomenon of MD and possible interventions to unveil the dynamics behind the lack of knowledge and use of AD. Proactive educational measures which show feasible ways of preventing MD are needed.

Reference

Vad MM, Kines PA. Construction workers' perception and use of assistive devices in regards to musculoskeletal deterioration: a qualitative study. Safety Science Monitor 2011;15(3):Article 2-.

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