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The role of ergonomic and psychosocial workplace factors in the reporting of back injuries among U.S. home health aides

Authors

  • Anna Arlinghaus Dipl-Psych, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Gesellschaft für Arbeits-, Wirtschafts- und Organisationspsychologische Forschung e.V., Oldenburg, Germany
    • Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Alberto J. Caban-Martinez DO, PhD, MPH, CPH,

    1. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Miguel Marino PhD,

    1. Division of Biostatistics, Department of Family Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon
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  • Silje Endresen Reme PsyD, PhD

    1. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Uni Health, Uni Research, Bergen, Norway
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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.

Correspondence to: Anna Arlinghaus, PhD, GAWO e.V., Achterdiek 50, Oldenburg 26131, Germany. E-mail: anna.arlinghaus@gawo-ev.de

Abstract

Background

Due to the aging population and a shift to patient home care, home health aides (HHAs) are a fast-growing occupation. Since little is known about workplace risk factors for back injuries among HHAs, we examined the role of ergonomic and psychosocial factors in injury reporting among HHAs.

Methods

We used the 2007 U.S. National Home Health Aide Survey data (weighted n = 160,720) to predict the risk of back injuries by use of/need for ergonomic equipment and supervisor support with logistic regression, adjusted for socio-demographic variables.

Results

The annual prevalence of back injuries for U.S. HHAs was 5.2%. Injury risk was increased in HHAs reporting the need of additional ergonomic equipment in patient homes, and marginally associated with low reported supervisor support.

Conclusions

Improvement of workplace ergonomic and psychosocial factors could be targeted as a strategy to decrease work-related injuries in HHAs. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:1239–1244, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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