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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Ergonomic exposures and socioeconomic status: Findings of the "PHASE in Healthcare" research project

Laura Punnett, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Ave., Lowell, MA 01854, 978-934-3269, Laura_Punnett@uml.edu and The PHASE in Healthcare Research Team, Center for Public Health Research and Health Promotion, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 3 Solomont Way, Lowell, MA 01854.

Socioeconomic status (SES) has repeatedly been demonstrated to predict an impressive range of health outcomes, including musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The mechanism of this gradient is under active discussion; candidate causal pathways - not necessarily mutually exclusive - include material deprivation, less access to health information, adverse “lifestyle” conditions (smoking, poor nutrition, etc.), and relative deprivation leading to social mistrust. Less often highlighted by social epidemiologists is the possibility that some of the socioeconomic gradient may be due to occupational conditions. Regarding MSD risk factors, lower SES jobs tend to involve more physically strenuous and repetitive work and lower decision latitude. Such differences in exposures have, however, previously been treated primarily as dichotomous comparisons and have not been examined in the health care sector in particular. In addition, hospital laboratory work has not been analyzed in much detail beyond the task of pipetting (because of its association with upper extremity MSDs). This panel will present findings from “Promoting Healthy and Safe Employment (PHASE) in Healthcare,” a large interdisciplinary study of hospitals and nursing homes. Ergonomic exposure data have been collected by direct observation as well as by questionnaire, and study jobs have been linked to the national O*NET database for additional exposure information. Presenters will describe the extent to which MSD risk factors vary by SES in the healthcare sector; will provide an overview of the biomechanical features of hospital laboratory jobs; and will discuss agreement between psychosocial exposure measures from self-report and O*NET.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Ergonomics, Social Inequalities

Related Web page: www.uml.edu/phase

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Ergonomic exposures and socioeconomic status: Findings of the PHASE in Healthcare research project

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA