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Prevention of upper extremity cumulative trauma disorders.

Gucer PW
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, R18-OH-003619, 2005 Jun; :1-29
The purpose was to determine whether a simple, inexpensive educational intervention packet sent to claimants, employers and physicians would reduce subsequent workers compensation claims for upper extremity cumulative trauma disorders (UECTDS), improve function for injured workers, and increase claimant use of vocational rehabilitation. We delivered the packets to 220 employers randomly selected from the 436 receiving Maryland Workers Compensation claims for UECTDS between mid February and December 2002. A similar packet was sent to 326 workers filing claims against those 220 intervention employers during that same period. Their physicians also received packets. Three hundred twenty six claimants were in the control group, having filed claims against one of the 216 control employers. The packet contained information on how to reduce common UECTD injuries, UECTD prevention strategies among employers, physicians and claimants, resource lists, and information on vocational rehabilitation, workers compensation and physician forms to guide history taking. We inspected subsequent claims filed from mid Feb. 2003 through Dec. 2003. There was no difference the in number of subsequent claims for intervention compared to control employers. We surveyed 31 % of claimants on average 8.8 months after the claim, and 27%, 14.5 months after the claim. We also surveyed 19% in a 3rd interview, not yet analyzed. Surveys collected information on capacity to perform ADLs, mood, use of vocational rehabilitation, and functioning at work and home. Neither claimant ADL scores nor use of vocational rehabilitation differed by intervention status. The intervention did appear to have an affect on job structure and retention. An average of 8.8 months after the claim, intervention claimants were less likely to have left their job due to their injury and less likely to have been fired or laid off. Evidence suggests that benefits to the intervention claimants are likely to have been due to their own efforts. By 14.2 months on average, those intervention claimants who had reviewed the educational material were less likely to be doing the same job at work, but marginally more likely to be working for the same employer than controls. Intervention claimants functioned better at home and recreation than controls an average of 14.5 months after the claim. Those who had reviewed the materials were also sleeping better, and marginally less depressed. Just over half the responding intervention claimants reported looking over the packet. The video proved a less effective technique for reaching claimants. Only 14% of claimant respondents viewed a video. Claimants reported receiving information on Workers Compensation mainly from Lawyers. Less than 25% received information from employers. Very few (7%) sought information on the Internet, and less than half from print sources.
Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Cumulative-trauma; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Repetitive-work; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Musculoskeletal-system; Ergonomics; Training; Education
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Grant Report
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Intervention Effectiveness Research
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
University of Maryland, Baltimore Professional School
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division