• occupational health;
  • back pain;
  • nursing

It is well known that many patient-oriented tasks contribute to occupational back pain in nurses and this is borne out by previous studies. In order to know whether the incidence of back pain and the contributing factors are the same in Hong Kong, a descriptive study was adopted to investigate the situation locally. This study explored the prevalence and perceived contributing factors of back pain, utilizing a non-experimental survey approach. Baseline data for this study were gathered by means of a questionnaire. The questionnaire elicited characteristics of the subjects' history and contributing factors to back pain. Of 47 nursing staff at an acute care hospital, the reported occurrence of some form of back pain during their career was found to be 80.9%. Approximately one-third of nurses with back pain experienced pain at least once a month. The top two dynamic factors contributing to back pain were lifting patients and transferring patients. Meanwhile, stooping was identified as the most common static factor contributing to back pain. In addition of those who had experienced some form of back pain, 92.1% stated that they have never reported their back pain to their employers. Contributing factors such as transferring patients from bed to chair and lifting patients within bed without assistance indicate poor practice which should be eliminated by the existence of continuing in-service education.