DOI: 10.1177/21650799231185335 ISSN: 2165-0799

Efficacy of Interventions in Reducing the Risks of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Nur Shuhaidatul Sarmiza Abdul Halim, Zaidi Mohd Ripin, Mohamad Ikhwan Zaini Ridzwan
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) are prevalent among healthcare professionals, including nurses, therapists, doctors, and paramedics, due to the potential injuries incurred during patient transfer and handling. This review aimed to assess the effectiveness of existing interventions in reducing the risks of WMSDs in this population.


Four databases including PubMed/MEDLINE, Web of Science, Scopus, and ScienceDirect were searched to identify randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials, as well as studies with pre-post design. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed the quality of the included studies using the Effective Public Health Practice Project criteria. A meta-analysis was performed to obtain quantitative results.


A total of 40 studies were included in the review. Among the interventions, motorized assistive devices showed the most significant relative reduction in WMSD risks ( p < .0000; standardized mean difference [ SMD] = −3.32, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [−4.53, −2.12]), followed by combined interventions of cognitive and exercise ( p < .0001; SMD = −0.62, 95% CI = [−0.91, −0.33]), combined intervention of cognitive and assistive device intervention ( p = .02; SMD = −0.77, 95% CI = [−1.42, −0.12]), nonmotorized assistive device ( p = .02; SMD = −0.63, 95% CI = [−1.15, −0.12]), cognitive intervention ( p < .0001; SMD = −0.62, 95% CI = [−0.91, −0.33]), and physical exercise ( p = .06; SMD = −0.16, 95% CI = [−0.32, 0.00]) intervention.


The overall evidence indicates that interventions have a significant effect in reducing the risk of WMSDs among healthcare workers, with motorized assistive devices showing the most promising results. The findings from this review can provide valuable guidance for hospital administrators, policymakers, and other experts in implementing effective strategies to prevent WMSDs among healthcare professionals.

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