218893 Estimated national burden of physical ergonomic hazards among US workers

Sunday, November 7, 2010

SangWoo Tak, ScD , National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH
Geoffrey M. Calvert, MD, MPH , NIOSH/CDC, Cincinnati, OH
To estimate the national burden of physical ergonomic hazards among working adults in US, we used proportions of workers who are exposed to physical ergonomic hazards by occupational title obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) data. These proportions were extrapolated to the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). O*NET contained a total of 28,084 workers in 750 occupations which were used in the analysis. Repetitive motion was the most prevalent of all ergonomic hazards (27%, representing 35 million workers, are estimated to be exposed continually). Non-neutral trunk postures (bending or twisting) were also common, representing over 17 million workers who are estimated to be exposed continually (13% of the US workforce). Kneeling, crouching, stooping or crawling was another ergonomic hazard that 5.7 million US workers perform continuously (4.4% of the US workforce). Almost 2 million workers climb ladders, scaffolds, poles, etc. continually or almost continually at work. We estimate that over 13 million workers (10% of the US workforce) were exposed to cramped work space that requires getting into awkward positions every day. About 3.5 million workers (2.7% of US workforce) were estimated to be exposed to whole body vibration every day. A large portion of the US workforce is exposed to ergonomic hazards known to be associated with musculoskeletal disorders. National efforts are necessary to reduce the burden of ergonomic hazards among US workers.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
1. Assess the use of the O*NET database for hazard surveillance purpose. 2. Discuss the baseline exposure to ergonomic hazards among US workers 3. Identify major occupations with highest proportions of workers exposed to physical ergonomic hazards

Keywords: Ergonomics, Occupational Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I perform occupational health surveillance research at a federal agency responsible for the occupational safety and health in the US workforce.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.