Musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace: development of a systems thinking-based prototype classification scheme to better understand the risks

Natassia Goode, Sharon Newnam, Paul M. Salmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Although there is a substantial body of literature describing the factors that contribute to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in the workplace, much of this research has focused on individual component failures, ignoring the factors influencing behaviour and decision-making. This gap in knowledge presents a challenge for practitioners wishing to understand the full range of factors contributing to MSDs and in the development of targeted intervention to mitigate the risk. This study conducted a systematic review of the literature to synthesis and summarise the evidence relating to the risk factors associated with MSDs. The risk factors identified informed the development of a prototype MSD risk factor classification scheme which was used to highlight gaps in current evidence. The resulting classification scheme identified multiple risk factor categories across six system levels. Several gaps in current evidence were identified which provide support for a research agenda focused on identifying additional sources of data to further understand the complex system of factors influencing MSD risk in the healthcare industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-156
Number of pages11
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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