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Violence at the workplace increases the risk of musculoskeletal pain among nursing home workers.

Authors
Miranda-H; Punnett-L; Gore-R; Boyer-J
Source
Occup Environ Med 2011 Jan; 68(1):52-57
NIOSHTIC No.
20038172
Abstract
BACKGROUND: Despite the high prevalences of workplace physical violence and musculoskeletal symptoms among health care workers, very few studies have examined the relationship between these two phenomena. METHODS: We surveyed 920 clinical nursing home workers by questionnaire regarding musculoskeletal pain in the low back, shoulders, wrists or hands, and knees. Information was also collected on exposure to physical assaults at work during the preceding 3 months, other workplace safety features, physical workload and psychosocial work environment. Log-binomial regression was used to estimate the prevalence ratios (PR) with 95% CIs. RESULTS: Almost one-half of respondents reported being assaulted at least once during the preceding 3 months by a resident or resident's visitor. The prevalence of low back pain increased from 40% among non-assaulted workers to 70% among those assaulted three or more times. The highest risk was found for widespread pain (three or more areas), with an adjusted PR of 2.7 (95% CI 1.8 to 3.9) for workers assaulted three or more times. Good workplace safety buffered the effects, so that violence increased the risk of most pains considerably less in a work environment perceived to be safe. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first study to show a dose-response association between physical assaults and musculoskeletal pain in a health care setting where violence is a frequent occurrence. This emphasises the need to address violence as a workplace hazard through practical measures for prevention as well as in future aetiological research on musculoskeletal disorders.
Keywords
Exposure-assessment; Health-care-facilities; Health-care-personnel; Health-programs; Health-surveys; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Medical-facilities; Medical-personnel; Musculoskeletal-system; Quantitative-analysis; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Statistical-analysis; Work-environment; Worker-health; Work-operations; Workplace-monitoring; Workplace-studies; Total-Worker-Health
Contact
Dr Laura Punnett, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Ave, Lowell, MA 01854
CODEN
OEMEEM
Publication Date
20110101
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
laura_punnett@uml.edu
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
2011
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U19-OH-008857
Issue of Publication
1
ISSN
1351-0711
Source Name
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
State
CT; MA
Performing Organization
University of Massachusetts, Lowell
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