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MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS

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Activities: NIOSH Research Projects

NIOSH sponsors research and training through its intramural programs. The following list includes MSD-related intramural projects that were active in 2015.

Projects Concluding in 2015

Costs of Injuries/Illnesses in Wholesale and Retail Trade

This project will address the different direct and indirect economic consequences associated with workplace injuries and illnesses and estimate the total costs of such injuries and illnesses in all the different wholesale and retail trade sectors.

Contact: Anasua Bhattacharya
Education and Information Division
(513) 533-8331
Project period: 10/01/2007 - 09/30/2015

Economic Burden of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in Small Businesses

This project will address the different direct and indirect economic consequences associated with workplace injuries and illnesses and estimate the total costs of such injuries and illnesses in in small businesses are very high and will estimate these costs for four different NORA sectors, Wholesale and Retail trade, Construction, Manufacturing and Services.

Contact: Anasua Bhattacharya
Education and Information Division
(513) 533-8331
Project period: 10/01/2008 - 09/30/2015

Interventions to Reduce Shoulder MSDs in Overhead Assembly

This project will evaluate the efficacy of two intervention strategies, an articulating tool support to unload the weight of the tool that is otherwise supported by the employee and an exercise program to increase individual employees' strength and endurance in the shoulder and upper arm stabilizing muscle groups, for reducing musculoskeletal symptoms of the shoulder attributable to overhead assembly work in automotive manufacturing.

Contact: Brian Lowe
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8161
Project period: 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2015

Reduction of musculoskeletal disorders in TSA workers

The purpose of the project is to provide ergonomic expertise to assist TSA in reducing WMSDs due to manual baggage screening and handling operations. The goals of the project include (1) determining risks of WMSDs due to different manual baggage lifting and handling operations at airports and other transportation sites, (2) prioritizing manual baggage operations for designing interventions that can effectively reduce the overall risk of WMSDs, (3) evaluating the effectiveness of commercially available lifting assist devices in reducing the risk of WMSDs, and (4) providing consultation on designing airport baggage screening operations.

Contact: Jack Lu
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513)533-8158
Project period: 10/01/2008 - 09/30/2015

WRT Implementation Project (PHP) MMH Workshop

The purpose of this project is to explore/identify new approaches/methods for reducing injuries/illnesses associated with manual materials handling (MMH) tasks within the wholesale and retail trade (WRT) sector.

Contact: Vernon Anderson
Education and Information Division
(513) 533-8319
Project period: 10/01/2009 - 09/30/2015

Projects Concluding in 2016

Adaptation of Canadian Retail Workers Guide for Use in the United States (PHP)

The purpose of this project is to develop a comprehensive, plain language guide for retail workers that will orient them to the occupational hazards associated with retail work. The WorkSafeBC document Health and Safety Guide for New Retail Workers will be adapted for these purposes.

Contact: Vernon Anderson
Education and Information Division
(513) 533-8319
Project period: 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2016

Best Practices for Bariatric Patient Handling

The objectives of this project are to examine bariatric patient handling hazards and injuries, identify safe practices for lifting/moving bariatric patients through evaluation of current bariatric patient handling programs, and to promote widespread use of safe bariatric patient handling practices by providers in diverse healthcare settings.

Contact: Traci Galinsky
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8150
Project period: 10/01/2008 - 09/30/2016

Development and Evaluation of Interventions for Reducing Hand-Arm Vibration Exposure

Many U.S. workers are occupationally-exposed to potentially-harmful hand-transmitted vibration (HTV). Through laboratory and field investigations, this five-year research project will enhance the understanding of selected interventions for minimizing occupational HTV. Based on well-focused pilot data, this project will provide the initial foundation for improved HTV assessment methods and new intervention strategies for reducing occupational HTV exposures. Which will lead to better recommendations, guidelines, and standards pertaining to occupational HTV exposures. Impact will be expressed in an improved foundation from which to develop more comprehensive assessments of exposure risks and associated interventions.

Contact: Thomas McDowell
Health Effects Laboratory Division
(340)285-6337
Project period: 10/01/2011 - 09/30/2016

Evaluating interventions for airplane cargo baggage handling

The purpose of the project is to assess the impact of two ergonomic interventions on incidence rates and costs of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in baggage handlers working in the airport tarmac area, where airplanes are parked for services at a terminal gate. Two ergonomic interventions (vacuum lifting system and power stow system) for reducing intensities of manual baggage handling will be introduced and evaluated through a prospective study design with a control group.

Contact: Jack Lu
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8158
Project period: 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2016

Evaluating the Effectiveness of OSH Program Elements

This multi-phase study is testing the hypotheses that increasing incremental levels of safety/ health intervention are significantly associated with the decreased incidence, severity and cost of injuries/ illnesses in a large number of wholesale/ retail trade companies and that a positive return on investment for intervention can be demonstrated. Crucial program elements and practices with particularly high effectiveness and return on investment will be identified in this study and disseminated to the WRT sector.

Contact: Steven Wurzelbacher
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluation, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4322
Project period: 10/01/2010 - 09/30/2016

Projects Concluding in 2017

Center for Workers Compensation Studies (CWCS)

The Center for Workers' Compensation Studies (CWCS) was launched in spring 2013 to maximize the use of workers’ compensation (WC) data for injury and illness prevention. This new virtual Center within NIOSH’s Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies (DSHEFS) is encouraging collaboration of NIOSH scientists with insurers and other private and public sector organizations to reach several goals related to surveillance of and research on occupational injury and illness. Surveillance Goals include: identify trends in work-related injuries-illnesses; understand the use and limits of WC systems; identify priorities for research and intervention; integrate WC data with other health-related data. Research Goals include: understand the total economic impact of work-related injury-illness; identify ways to prevent and reduce the severity of work-related injury-illness; develop best practices for prevention and disability management.

Contact: Steven Wurzelbacher
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluation, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4322
Project period: 10/01/2013 - 09/30/2017

Discrete Choice Experiments in Occupational Safety

This project will investigate individual, organizational, and methodological factors that influence the safety-related observations, decisions, and behavior in the workplace. A major goal is to explore, develop, and/or adapt various models of human choice for the study of decision-making associated with safety-related observations, injury reporting, and behavior. Several planned laboratory-based experiments will be conducted to validate the methods and provide information to support the development of guidelines for using various discrete choice methods in designing and implementing effective behavioral assessments and inventions, including those designed to promote effective safety management systems and positive safety climates and cultures

Contact: Oliver Wirth
Health Effects Laboratory Division
(304)285-6323
Project period: 10/01/2014 - 09/30/2017

Effect of a Wellness Grant on Worker Health and Safety

This project leverages the existing OBWC-NIOSH partnership to determine the effectiveness and economic return of the OBWC Workplace Wellness Grant Program and to understand the impact of integrating of wellness (health promotion) with traditional occupational safety and health (health protection) programs. If the Workplace Wellness Grant Program is effective at improving worker health, reducing WC claims and demonstrating a positive economic return, then other employers and insurance carriers may develop similar programs and drive the optimization of integrated health protection/promotion approaches.

Contact: Alysha Meyers
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluation, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4562
Project period: 10/01/2013 - 09/30/2017

Hand-Arm Vibration Exposures: Development of Assessment and Intervention Methods and Technologies

This research program will enhance the understanding of hand-transmitted vibration (HTV) exposure and health effects, and develop more effective methods for the measurement, assessment, and control of the HTV exposure

Contact: Renguang Dong
Health Effects Laboratory Division
(304) 285-6332
Project period: 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2017

National Health Interview Survey - Occupational Health Supplement, 2015

The overall project objective is to develop, administer, and utilize data from an occupational health supplement (OHS) to the 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to provide information on the prevalence and correlates of workplace exposures and work-related health conditions in the U.S. population. This surveillance project will build upon the results of a 2010 NHIS-OHS that was funded through the FY2009 NORA competitive process. The 2015 NHIS-OHS will help to ensure that NIOSH support of the NHIS meets the definition of public health surveillance, which is the systematic, ongoing collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of data followed by the dissemination of these data to public health programs to stimulate public health action (1). The key feature of the definition that the 2015 NHIS-OHS will address is the “ongoing” element. Like the 2010 NHIS-OHS, the 2015 NHIS-OHS will also address all of the other features of the public health surveillance definition. The 2015 NHIS-OHS retains much of the same content as the 2010 NHIS-OHS in order to monitor trends; but, we replaced some of the constructs from the 2010 NHIS-OHS that provided the least useful data and/or were not expected to change much over the course of 5 years with other high priority workplace exposures and/or work-related health conditions that were not covered on the 2010 instrument.

Contact: Sara Luckhaupt
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluation, and Field Studies
(513) 841-4123
Project period: 10/01/2013 - 09/30/2017

Projects Concluding in 2018

Maximizing Use of Workers' Compensation Data for Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance and Prevention Research

The project is aimed at improving the current occupational injury surveillance system by linking the US Occupational Resource Network (O*NET), a job characteristics database, to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC) database. A Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analysis is proposed to characterize risk factors for claim frequency and claim costs associated with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the linked databases. The two targeted sectors in this proposed analysis include manufacturing and whole sale and retail trade (WRT). Leading risk indicators for MSDs in the sectors can be determined by the CART analysis and used to identify evidence-based interventions or safety and health programs. Four specific aims and their expected outcomes are described below:

1. To solve the problem with missing job information in worker compensation (WC) databases. The expected outcome of this aim is adding job characteristics information from the O*NET to the OBWC to identify job risk factors for injury claims and costs associated with MSDs. The expanded WC database will be available to other NIOSH researchers.

2. To challenge the existing research paradigm by using the modern statistical method CART for constructing a tree model that classifies personal, physical and psychosocial job risk factors for MSDs. The expected outcome of this aim is characterization of the above-mentioned risk factors for injury claims and costs associated with MSDs in the manufacturing and WRT sectors in Ohio.

3. To create a novel study design using the CART methodology to classify leading risk indicators for high cost injury claims. The expected outcome of this aim is knowledge gained from the CART analysis to advance risk surveillance for MSDs.

4.To build practical risk prediction tree models that mimic human decision making for reducing evidence-based risk factors with limited budget or resources. The expected outcomes are risk prediction models suited for OBWC’s budget and feasibility of interventions.

Contact: Jack Lu
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8158
Project period: 10/01/2014 - 09/30/2018

Musculoskeletal Disorders and Center for Workers Compensation Studies Collaborative Research

This project will serve as an umbrella project for small pilot projects and investigational studies that focus on the use of workers’ compensation data, such as injury cost and narrative data provided by the OBWC, to identify priority industry segments or occupations where ergonomic interventions can be successfully implemented to ameliorate or minimize the exposure to workplace risk factors associated with the development of MSDs. These small projects will focus on three emphasis areas: 1) the use of new forms of surveillance data to identify priority research areas, 2) the development of scientific methods to identify effective interventions to address MSDs at the enterprise level including cost-benefit analysis and intervention implementation strategies, and 3) the development, dissemination and evaluation of information associated with effective MSD interventions including economic factors.

Contact: Stephen Hudock
Division of Applied Research and Technology
(513) 533-8183
Project period: 01/22/2015 - 09/30/2018

Musculoskeletal Disorders Risk Assessment Methods

The purpose of this project is to develop exposure and health effect metrics related to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and methods for quantitative risk assessment that can ultimately be used to develop guidance to reduce the amount of MSDs in the workforce.

Contact: Sudha Pandalai
Education and Information Division
(513) 533-8220
Project period: 10/01/2013 - 09/30/2018

 

 
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  • Page last reviewed: December 18, 2012
  • Page last updated: June 10, 2015
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