Occupational back pain of nurses: Special problems and prevention

P. Harber, E. Billet, S. Shimozaki, M. Vojtecky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


An observational study was performed to asses the nature and relative frequency of special circumstances of nursing which might contribute to occupational back pain and of preventive methods unique to nursing practice. The activities of 63 nurses were observed and coded in a behavioral scoring system. The group included registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, aides and orderlies, and they worked in several different nursing units including intensive care units, medical/surgical units, post-anesthesia room and delivery room. Physical obstruction to easy contact with patients and fragile, extended attachments to patients were the most frequently observed problems. Mechanical assist devices, although available, were rarely employed. Assistance by a second staff member was the most commonly used preventive method. Such information is valuable for worker training programme design, job design and guiding priorities for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-224
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Back pain
  • occupational disorders
  • patient handling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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