Work injuries among therapists in physical rehabilitation

Bernadette McCrory, Judith M. Burnfield, Amy R. Darragh, Jane L. Meza, Sonya L. Irons, Pavel Chernyavskiy, Angela M. Link, Gregory Brusola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Background: Physical therapists in rehabilitation settings often perform heavy lifting, repetitive forceful tasks and endure long periods of static or awkward postures. These work conditions put therapists at increased risk of work-related injuries (WRIs). Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) at 14 randomly selected rehabilitation facilities to determine the prevalence and severity of work-related injuries in physical rehabilitation. Results: A majority of respondents reported their most severe pain or discomfort within the last year affected their back, lasted 24 hours to 1 week, occurred once every 2-6 months, and was rated as moderate on the 0 to 10 pain scale. The 1-year prevalence of WRIs among PTs and PTAs working in physical rehabilitation was 32%. Sixty percent (60%) of those reporting pain/discomfort had mechanical patient lifts available within their work area. Less than half reported using mechanical patient lifts before or during/after their work-related pain. Conclusion: More than 65% of rehabilitation PTs and PTAs experienced work-related pain due to therapeutic activities including patient handling and movement. It is critical to understand therapists' technology usage barriers, redesign technology to meet end-user needs, and develop technology-based best practices that promote both worker safety and patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2014 International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, HFES 2014
PublisherHuman Factors an Ergonomics Society Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780945289456
StatePublished - 2014
Event58th International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, HFES 2014 - Chicago, United States
Duration: Oct 27 2014Oct 31 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
ISSN (Print)1071-1813


Other58th International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, HFES 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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