Dr. Merryweather and his colleagues were awarded the Liberty Mutual Medal for 2017 at the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association in Florence, Italy. The team was recognized last year for their contributions to the field of workplace safety and ergonomics. Dr. Stephen Boa (First Author) presented work on behalf of the research team.

Stephen S. Bao, Jay M. Kapellusch, Andrew S. Merryweather, Matthew S. Thiese, Arun Garg, Kurt T. Hegmann & Barbara A. Silverstein (2016) Relationships between job organisational factors, biomechanical and psychosocial exposures, Ergonomics, 59:2, 179-194, DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2015.1065347

The relationships between work organisational, biomechanical and psychosocial factors were studied using cross-sectional data from a pooled dataset of 1834 participants. The work organisational factors included: job rotation, overtime work, having second jobs and work pace. Task and job level biomechanical variables were obtained through sub-task data collected in the field or analysed in the laboratory. Psychosocial variables were collected based on responses to 10 questions. The results showed that job rotations had significant effects on all biomechanical and most psychosocial measures. Those with job rotations generally had higher job biomechanical stressors, and lower job satisfaction. Overtime work was associated with higher job biomechanical stressors, and possibly self-reported physical exhaustion. Those having second jobs reported getting along with co-workers well. Work pace had significant influences on all biomechanical stressors, but its impact on job biomechanical stressors and psychosocial effects are complicated.

Practitioner Summary: The findings are based on a large number of subjects collected by three research teams in diverse US workplaces. Job rotation practices used in many workplaces may not be effective in reducing job biomechanical stressors for work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Overtime work is also associated with higher biomechanical stressors.