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Association between Frequency of Patient Lifting and Incidence of Low Back Injury among Nursing Personnel.

Jensen RC
NIOSH 1986:99-102
A study of the association between patient lifting and the incidence of low back injury in nursing was conducted. Data from two surveys of low back pain in nurses were examined. The first survey studied 168 registered nurses and 32 nursing aides. The second studied 253 nursing aides, 142 licensed practical nurses, and 20 attendants. One year prevalence rates, the percentage of subjects who reported a back pain episode during the year, were computed for subjects who reported frequent lifting versus those who reported infrequent lifting. The prevalence rates of the subjects who reported frequent lifting were significantly larger than those who lifted patients infrequently. The ratio of prevalence rates of the subjects who lifted patients frequently to those who lifted patients infrequently ranged from 3.6 for licensed practical nurses to 1.1 for attendants. For frequent lifting, the greatest prevalence rate was 48.5 for registered nurses; the greatest rate for infrequent lifting was 25.0 for nursing aides. Overall, frequent lifting produced a 2.1 fold greater prevalence rate. The author suggests that patient lifting is a factor associated with low back pain among nurse. Definite conclusions cannot be drawn because the two studies did not control potential extraneous or confounding variables adequately. Additional studies of the relationship between patient handling and low back pain are recommended.
NIOSH-Author; Medical-personnel; Back-injuries; Physiological-stress; Morbidity-rates; Risk-factors; Occupational-health; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders;
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings;
Fiscal Year
Priority Area
Low Back Disorders; Disease and Injury; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders;
Source Name
The Changing Nature of Work and Workforce, Proceedings of the Third Joint US-Finnish Science Symposium, Frankfort, Kentucky, October 22-24, 1986, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division