Organizational Change | Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) Evaluation Measures

Organizational change measures for WMSD prevention1-3

Prevention of WMSDs requires ongoing support from employers. New programs can be added over time and evaluated periodically for their effectiveness. For best results, recognition of the benefits of preventing WMSDs should become an inherent part of organizational change and corporate culture.

Measuring organization change is an assessment of company-initiated programs and policies that affect most employees regardless of their health status. These efforts need to be integrated for greatest effectiveness and will require time for full implementation. Regular measures of employee attitudes and program development are key in determining whether new programs are effective or require further adaptation to prevent continuing investment in ineffective efforts.


  • Determine workplace barriers to using WMSD prevention programs and ergonomics controls to reduce the risk of WMSDs
  • Assess current workplace WMSD prevention programs
    • List current WMSD prevention program options for employees including those directed toward employee behavior, such as information on protecting the back when lifting heavy loads, and those directed toward the workplace environment, such as altering the positions of equipment to reduce muscle and joint strain through worksite and identify number of employees (i.e., participation) using each option. Examples:
      • Number of WMSD prevention programs (e.g., current training programs on hazards awareness, safe work practices) and participation in these programs. Participation can be enhanced by assessing the needs of workers, including workers in the planning process, designing training objectives to provide workers with the most critical information they need to know and actions that can take; and making safety and health training a part of basic job training
      • Number of current WMSD prevention policies (e.g., current management approaches to recognizing possible problems and involving workers in problem-solving activities; administrative controls)
      • Number of environmental strategies to reduce the risk of WMSD (e.g., effective controls for tasks that pose a risk of WMSD and evaluate the current approaches to control these settings)
      • Number of partnerships with community resources for preventing WMSD
    • Determine costs of current company WMSD prevention programs such as:
      • Staffing, equipment, and space
      • Employee time to participate in programs during work hours (e.g., training)
      • Costs of implementation of administrative or engineering controls
    • Conduct survey of employee satisfaction with current workplace supported WMSD prevention programs (this measure is also useful as a baseline for assessing worker productivity)
  • Determine new interventions to minimize risk factors for WMSDs when initiating new work processes and operations such as implementation of engineering or administrative controls


  • Reassess barriers to using WMSD prevention programs and ergonomics controls to reduce the risk of WMSDs
  • Document steps taken and progress toward implementing each intervention selected
    • List numeric goals in each form of intervention within a designated time period (e.g., 12 months from startup):
      • Employee reach (e.g., number of training opportunities offered)
      • Employee participation (e.g., such as number of people trained)
    • Describe timeline for implementation of each planned intervention (e.g., length of time and timing of tasks to develop, initiate, and conduct a training program for workers and managers to evaluate workplace WMSDs)
    • Create a baseline budget for new interventions including classes, instructors, classroom space, materials, etc
    • Identify opportunities for new partnerships with community groups for preventing WMSD
  • Reassess employee satisfaction regarding workplace supported WMSD prevention programs


  • Measure reductions in the number and type of barriers to using WMSD prevention programs and ergonomics controls to reduce the risk of WMSDs
  • Assess changes in workplace WMSDs prevention programs, including employee education and workplace adaptation. Include progress in achieving goals and in implementation of each intervention
    • Measure changes in the number of WMSD prevention programs for employees through the worksite and changes in employee participation using each option between baseline and time of reassessment. Examples:
      • Numbers of new WMSD prevention programs (e.g., training) offered to employees and participation in these programs
      • Number of new WMSD prevention policies (e.g., active involvement of workers in problem-solving activities; administrative controls) developed and implemented compared with baseline
      • Number of new environmental strategies (e.g., implementation of effective controls) developed and implemented compared with baseline
      • Number of new partnerships formed with community groups to enhance access and opportunity for employees to reduce WMSDs
    • Assess changes in program costs from baseline
      • Increases in staffing or equipment needs due to new program offerings
      • Changes in employee participation time during work hours (e.g., training)
      • Changes in costs of implementing administrative or engineering controls
    • Assess changes in survey responses for employee satisfaction following implementation of workplace supported prevention programs and compare with baseline

Depending on goal success, evaluate the need to adjust workplace programs.


1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Framework for program evaluation in public health. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1999;48(No. RR-11): 1-40.

2.  Goetzel RZ, Ozminkowski RJ. Program evaluation. In: O’Donnell MP, editor. Health promotion in the workplace, 3rd edition. Albany, NY: Delmar Thomson Learning; 2002. p 116-165.

3.  Weeks JL, Levy BS, Wagner GR, editors. Preventing occupational disease and injury. 2nd ed. Washington DC: American Public Health Association; 2005.