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Obstacles to Recovery from Musculoskeletal Disorders in Industry

Burton, A. Kim, Bartys, Serena, Wright, Ian and Main, Chris J. (2005) Obstacles to Recovery from Musculoskeletal Disorders in Industry. Project Report. Health and Safety Executive, London.

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The burden of musculoskeletal disorders on society is substantial, requiring effective management especially in an occupational context. Occupational health guidelines recommend addressing potentially detrimental psychosocial factors in the management of workers sick-listed with musculoskeletal disorders, yet the specific influence on absence from occupational and clinical psychosocial risk factors (termed 'blue' and 'yellow' flags) remains under-explored.
A four-year study was carried out in two phases: (1) a workforce survey of a large multi-site company in the UK, (2) a controlled trial of an occupational guidelines-based intervention protocol for workers with musculoskeletal disorders, focusing on obstacles to recovery/return-to-work.
The results confirmed a general association between the psychosocial work environment and musculoskeletal disorders. Prospectively, psychosocial risk factors predicted the likelihood of future absence, but not its duration; routine psychosocial screening to predict return-to-work time may have limited value. Implementation of an early proactive occupational health protocol (psychosocial intervention and a supportive network with all players onside) was a successful strategy for reducing absence due to musculoskeletal disorders, for both return-to-work time and future workloss. The effect was observed at both the site level and the individual level. Organisational obstacles (black flags) were identified, which compromised the experimental intervention. It remains to be determined which, if any, specific components of the intervention package might be most effective

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Applied Psychological Research
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Depositing User: Catherine Parker
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2008 14:15
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 10:40


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