Introduction: A Minnesota union identified to researchers at the University of Minnesota a concern relevant to a possible relation between their daily workload and outcome of occupational injuries among a population of janitors. Objective: To assess if the ergonomic workload is related to injuries among janitors. Methods: Following an initial group discussion among janitors, which identified common and hazardous tasks potentially leading to occupational injuries, a questionnaire was developed, pre-tested, and distributed to the janitors. Questions addressed various exposures, including workload, and comprehensive information regarding injury occurrence over two six-month sequential periods (May 2016–October 2016, November 2016–April 2017). Quantitative ergonomic analyses were performed on a sub-group of janitors (n = 30); these included data collection to identify Borg Perceived Exertion (Borg) and Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA) scores. Descriptive, multivariable with bias adjustment analyses were conducted on the resulting data. Results: Eight tasks were found to be common for janitors. All average REBA scores for the tasks were identified in the high-risk category. The task of repeatedly emptying small trash cans (<25lb) was significantly related to injuries. Average Borg scores fell between the very light perceived exertion and somewhat difficult perceived exertion categories. Multivariable regression analyses indicated that age-sex-standardized ergonomic workload, measured by task frequencies and REBA or Borg scores, was positively related to injury occurrence. Conclusions: Standardized ergonomic workload was positively related to injury occurrence. This information serves as a basis for further research and potential intervention efforts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was funded by the Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety , Education and Research Center , Pilot Projects Research Training Program supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( OH008434 ). The contents of this effort are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or other associated entities.