Musculoskeletal disorders from patient handling

The research report can be found here.

Research question

With existing strategies in place, what are the main causes of continued musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in aged care workers?

What is this research about?

Aged care workers are still experiencing MSD from handling patients. Research will investigate why injuries continue to occur, and how we can improve safety when handling aged care patients.

Timeline of project

This project has been completed and the literature review has been published. You can read the accepted manuscript here.

You can access the published article here (via journal subscription).

What did the researchers look at?

The researchers conducted a literature review in the form of a qualitative synthesis, and addressed the following items:

  • What physical, psychosocial and organisational factors are associated with MSD amongst aged care workers?
  • What interventions are effective in reducing the risk of MSD amongst aged care workers?
  • Are there intervention strategies tested in areas other than MSD that can also be applied to reducing injury amongst aged care workers?


This project examined peer-reviewed and grey literature to identify the current status of MSD evidence, risk management guidance and prevention in the aged care industry. Causes of organisational and psychosocial MSD does not appear to have been comprehensively considered within the sector.

The complex interaction between physical, organisational and psychosocial MSD risk factors in aged care work requires forward thinking, and long-term education, awareness and intervention through cooperation between industry, researchers and regulators.

Understanding this, there are opportunities to tailor existing wholistic and participatory interventions for aged care work, alongside new safety tools, and the development of specific environmental strategies that can improve safety for all workers in the aged care industry.

Research partners and stakeholders

University of Wollongong

University of NSW

Want to know more?

To work with the Centre, or stay up to date with our research, head to our Engage with us page.

Supporting documents

Work Health and Safety Roadmap for NSW 2022 - Action Area II 

Centre for Work Health and Safety Research Blueprint - Core Stream of Research

2017-2022 Musculoskeletal Disorder Strategy