Validating a framework for participatory ergonomics

METHODS: This study is embedded in a cluster randomised controlled trial that investigated the effectiveness of PE to prevent LBP and NP among workers.For the purpose of the current study, questionnaires were sent to 81 working group members.By following the steps of PE, working groups composed and prioritised ergonomic measures, and developed an implementation plan.Working group members were responsible to implement the ergonomic measures in their departments.Therefore, preventing these symptoms at the workplace is imperative.To prevent LBP and NP among workers, ergonomic measures are frequently implemented at the workplace.Various barriers and facilitators were experienced. The presence of implementation plans for ergonomic measures that were already approved by the management facilitated implementation before the working group meeting.

Based on the questionnaire information, 15 semi-structured interviews were held to explore the barriers and facilitators in more detail.Therefore, embedded in a RCT, this study aimed to identify possible factors that hampered (barriers) and/or enhanced (facilitators) the implementation of the prioritised ergonomic measures when using the PE programme as an implementation strategy.It also aimed to understand how these barriers and/or facilitators influenced the implementation.Little is known about factors that hamper (barriers) or enhance (facilitators) the implementation of ergonomic measures.This study aimed to identify and understand the possible barriers and facilitators that were perceived during implementation.Knowledge on the barriers and facilitators about their presence in the different levels of the occupational context is crucial to improve the implementation of ergonomic interventions, thereby contributing to the reduction of LBP and NP among workers [16,17].Nevertheless, the reporting on barriers and facilitators for implementation is lacking in most ergonomic intervention studies [18].The findings of a recent systematic review, however, showed that the implementation of physical and organisational ergonomic interventions alone were not effective to prevent LBP and NP [5].Therefore, the use of an adequate strategy to implement ergonomic measures, such as participatory ergonomics (PE), has been recommended.Furthermore, the findings showed that the composition of a working group (i.e., including decision makers and a worker who led the implementation process) was important.Moreover, stakeholder involvement and collaboration were reported to considerably improve implementation.

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