Evaluation of Workforce Perceptions as a Means to Identify and Mitigate the Causes of Musculoskeletal Disorders

Principal Investigator(s):

Todd Loushine, Former Assistant Professor, UMD-Mechanical & Industrial Eng

Project summary:

Mn/DOT Risk Management has observed an increase in the frequency and severity of musculoskeletal injuries in job classifications related to "transportation generalist" and "mechanic/maintenance." This study investigated what factors led to musculoskeletal injuries in the Mn/DOT workforce. Researchers conducted telephone interviews with a randomly selected sample of workers from District 1 and analyzed the responses. The most frequently cited safety concern was exposure to public traffic on road projects; followed by heavy or awkward lifting, "rushing" to get a job done, and exposure to typical construction site hazards. Overall, workers felt management and co-workers were committed to safety on the job. Possible safety improvements revolved around: general awareness, watching out for each other, planning ahead, taking time to do the job right, and proper use of personal protective equipment. Most of the workers interviewed indicated interest in participating and promoting a workplace wellness program to improve their health and fitness. Efforts to reduce musculoskeletal injuries need to incorporate the concerns and ideas of workers, building off of what was learned in this study.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2010012
  • Start date: 07/2009
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety