Incidence of low back injuries among nursing personnel as a function of patient lifting frequency

Terrence J. Stobbe, Ralph W. Plummer, Roger C. Jensen, Michael D. Attfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Occupational back injuries among nursing personnel are common. Although numerous factors affect risk, a widely recognized (but poorly documented) factor is exposure to patient lifting. Due to a lack of adequate documentation in the research literature, this investigation was undertaken to examine the relationship between the frequency of patient lifting and the frequency of back injuries. A major medical center was used to collect retrospective data on three work groups: (a) licensed practical nurses, (b) nurses' aides, and (c) attendants (orderlies). From these employees, two exposure groups were identified: one group exposed to frequent patient lifting and a control group of nursing personnel who infrequently lift patients. The reported back pain incidents of the two groups were then statistically compared. The statistical procedures used were logistic regression and survival analysis. Both comparisons showed significant differences between exposure groups. From this analysis, it appears that patient lifting frequency is indeed a significant causative factor in the production of low back injuries in nursing personnel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Safety Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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