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Distinguishing back-belt effects from other factors in reduction of back injuries (letter to the editor).

Gardner LI; Sweeney MH; Waters TR; Fine LJ; Smith GS; Lincoln A; Kraus JF; McArthur DL; Peek-Asa C
Int J Occup Environ Health 1997 Jul; 3(3):236-237
This letter to the editor discussed the article Reduction of Acute Low Back Injuries by Use of Back Supports (International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health 2: pages 264 to 273, 1996) which described a study concerning the reduction of acute low back injuries through the use of back belts. The authors suggest that this article raises many questions important to the full understanding of the significance of the findings. A significant limitation of the earlier study was the possibility that temporal factors other than the use of the belt may have changed over time, such as the willingness of employees to report low back injuries, work exposure or training. The current authors suggest that an additional analysis of nonback injury rates would be helpful as it would establish whether any nonback injury rate trends were occurring. Such a trend would not be attributable to a mandatory support belt policy. The interpretation of the initial study results depends heavily on the validity of the 69% drop in the back injury rate for the group whose length of employment was 1 to 2 years. Most studies show a declining injury rate with job duration. A more detailed and comprehensive multivariate analysis of low back and non low back injury trends would be useful. The current authors also questioned the reported high rate of belt wearing, and whether there were no stores with substantially lower rates of back belt wearing.
Safety-equipment; Back-injuries; Accident-prevention; Personal-protective-equipment; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Manual-lifting; Work-capacity; Task-performance; Training
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment; Research Tools and Approaches; Low Back Disorders; Disease and Injury
Source Name
International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
Page last reviewed: October 26, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division