To describe veterinarians' perceptions of the causes of, and reasons for, work-related musculoskeletal discomfort (MSD), and to summarise their suggestions for ways to reduce the risk of MSD.
A cross-sectional study administered online asked 2,112 veterinarians registered in New Zealand to indicate, using free-handed text, the three tasks that "will most likely lead to musculoskeletal aches and pains (MSD)", reasons "why are these tasks likely to be the most risky?", and "any solutions that you apply or know of ".
Complete questionnaires were returned by 828 veterinarians, a response rate of 39%. The tasks considered by veterinarians most likely to lead to MSD were lifting, surgery, rectal palpations, and animal handling. The main reasons why tasks were perceived to be most likely to lead to MSD were awkward posture, repetitive activities, and physical activity. The solutions suggested by veterinarians included provision of appropriate assistance and/or adequate staff, attention to correct manual handling techniques, provision of facilities to allow work to be carried out at a comfortable height, and regular rotation of jobs. Of the 39 solution categories, 16 (41%) could be categorised as those requiring a change in design of the work environment, and 15 (38%) involved training.
The results of this study indicate that veterinarians perceive the causes of work-related MSD to be related to physical rather than psychosocial factors. We propose that the findings reported in this study provide a useful starting point for the application of a participatory ergonomics approach for addressing the problem of MSD amongst veterinarians in New Zealand.
"Large and mixed animal veterinarians mostly considered that rectal examinations, obstetric treatment, ultrasound examinations and diagnostic testing on the hoof and lameness were stressful activities. On the other hand, small animal veterinarians found that lifting and transporting animals was stressful, together with surgeries . In a subsequent study, it was shown that large animal veterinarians and veterinarians who only worked with horses exhibit the greatest prevalence of MSD periods in comparison to veterinarians in other practices or organizations . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Veterinary work is a physically demanding profession and entails the risk of injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system, particularly in the upper body. The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), the consequences and work-related accidents in German veterinarians were investigated. Work-related and individual factors associated with MSD of upper extremities and the neck were analyzed.
In 2011, a self-reporting Standardized Nordic Questionnaire was mailed to registered veterinarians in seven federal medical associations in Germany. A total of 3174 (38.4%) veterinarians responded. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the association between risk factors and MSD-related impairment of daily activities.
MSD in the neck (66.6%) and shoulder (60.5%) were more prevalent than in the hand (34.5%) or elbow (24.5%). Normal activities were affected in 28.7% (neck), 29.5% (shoulder), 19.4% (hand) and 14% (elbow) of the respondents. MSD in the upper body occurred significantly more often in large animal practitioners. Accidents that resulted in MSD were most frequently reported in the hand/wrist (14.3%) or in the shoulder (10.8%). The majority of all accidents in the distal upper extremities were caused by animals than by other factors (19% vs. 9.2%). For each area of the body, a specific set of individual and work-related factors contributed significantly to severe MSD: Older age, gender, previous injuries, BMI, practice type, veterinary procedures such as dentistry, rectal procedures and obstetric procedures as well as high demands and personal burnout.
From the perspective of occupational health and safety, it seems to be necessary to improve accident prevention and to optimize the ergonomics of specific tasks. Our data suggest the need for target group-specific preventive measures that also focus on the psychological factors at work.
PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e89362. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0089362 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A cross-sectional survey among 245 children was conducted to establish the prevalence and characteristics of back pain in school children aged 11-14 years. A self-complete questionnaire was used to ascertain demographic details, pain prevalence, psychosocial parameters, school and leisure activities and family characteristics. In the last month, 58% of children had experienced spinal pain. In total, 31% of children reported that pain occurred in one part of the back, while 28% stated that pain presented in more than one spinal region. Pain in the last month was found to be equally prevalent in the low back (35%) and neck (36%) regions. Low back pain was associated with the most severe pain and pain lasting for the longest duration when compared with the upper back and neck regions. Further research should be directed towards investigating pain in the neck region and understanding the characteristics of symptom co-occurrence. STATEMENT OF RELEVANCE: A survey was conducted to establish the prevalence and characteristics of back pain in school children. The results provide additional evidence that back pain is a serious problem in children aged 11-14 years, whilst also indicating widespread co-occurrence of pain in the neck, upper back and lower back spinal regions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Work-related physical discomfort exists within the optometric profession. It is not well understood how optometrists manage this issue in their workplaces.
Method: An online questionnaire was sent by e-mail to approximately 1,700 Australian optometrists. Participants were asked if they experienced work-related discomfort in any of eight nominated body regions. If so, they were asked to describe specific work tasks, which contribute to their work-related discomfort, and strategies they have adopted to minimise their discomfort. These data were subject to qualitative and quantitative analyses.
Results: There was a 25 per cent response rate and 416 optometrists participated in the questionnaire. Work-related physical discomfort was reported by 339 respondents (81 per cent), most commonly with the use of the phoropter (n = 144, 35 per cent) and slitlamp (n = 94, 23 per cent). Males were more likely to report lower back discomfort with phoropter use (Chi-squared, p < 0.01) and ophthalmoscopy (Chi-squared, p < 0.01). To minimise discomfort, optometrists 41 years and older were more likely to report that they adjust their posture (Chi-squared, p < 0.03) and females were more likely to report that they alter their work schedule (Chi-squared, p < 0.05). A recurrent theme expressed by participants was an inability to make changes to improve their comfort due to room and equipment design, poorly maintained equipment, non-supply of suitable equipment or furniture and inherent difficulties within optometric tasks.
Conclusion: There is a need for all optometrists to have skills to evaluate their own personal risk of discomfort in the consultation room. Owners and managers of optometric practices also need greater awareness of the importance of room and equipment design and maintenance on work-related discomfort. This has implications for the well-being of optometrists, for their productivity and for compliance with health and safety legislation.
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