Presentation W P15

W P15 (Poster Presentation):
Effectiveness of OHS workplace interventions in the prevention of upper extremity MSDs: an update of the evidence

Presented by: Emma L Irvin


Irvin E1, Van Eerd D1,2, Munhall C1, Rempel D3, Brewer S4, Dennerlein J5, van der Beek A6, Tullar J7, Skivington K1, Pinion C4, Amick III B1,8

  1. Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Canada
  2. University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
  3. University of California,Richmond,United States of America
  4. CB&I, Houston,United States of America
  5. Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, United States of America
  6. VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  7. University of Texas, Houston,United States of America
  8. Florida International University, Miami, United States of America



The burden of disabling musculoskeletal pain and injuries (MSDs) arising from work-related causes in many workplaces remains substantial. The magnitude of the impact of MSDs on workers, employers, health care systems, and society is substantial.While there is general consensus that workplace and work process hazards contribute to the development of MSDs there remains little consensus on the most appropriate ways to reduce or eliminate the hazards. The Institute for Work & Health (IWH) has conducted a number of reviews to identify the most effective approaches for preventing and managing MSDs. The objective of this project is to update the reviews of workplace-based upper extremity disorder prevention with a view to updating the key messages.


The team of researchers and stakeholders followed a systematic review process developed by the IWH: research question formulation; literature search; relevance review; quality appraisal; data extraction; and evidence synthesis. Review steps were completed with two independent reviewers coming to consensus for each reference. Synthesis of the evidence on a particular MSD intervention-health outcome relationship was ranked on a scale from strong evidence, through moderate, limited, and insufficient evidence.


The following electronic databases were searched from January 2008 until December 2012: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety’s CCINFO web, Cochrane Library and Ergonomic Abstracts. This comprehensive search yielded 9909 non-duplicate references. From these references we found 33 articles that were relevant to answer our research question. Methodological quality scores for the relevant studies are higher than those from the previous reviews. There appears to be a stronger body of evidence for a variety of interventions.


Preliminary results show that the described interventions, related to the prevention of upper extremity MSDs, are varied and applicable to various sectors. We will present a synthesis of the evidence about intervention effectiveness on the prevention of MSDs and provide an update of practical recommendations from our previous reviews.

Schedule Details

Wednesday October 1
13:00 - 14:00 Poster Viewing
Session: Varia