Study designs of evaluations included in the review
No inclusion criteria for the study design were stated.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of ergonomic measures or implementation strategies intended to reduce physical work demands were eligible for inclusion. The ergonomic interventions in the included studies were categorised as technical (engineering controls), organisational (administrative controls) or individual (training or education) measures. The implementation strategies were categorised as informational, compulsory, educational, persuasive or facilitative.
Participants included in the review
No inclusion criteria for the participants were stated. The included studies were conducted in a range of health care and industrial field settings, or under laboratory conditions. The participants were nurses and other health care workers, bricklayers, scaffolders, process plant workers, assembly workers, refuse collectors, warehouse personnel, abattoir workers, store workers and workers in various other industrial roles.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies that measured physical work demands, musculoskeletal symptoms, or effects of implementation strategies on process were eligible for inclusion. Physical work demands were defined as lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling materials or persons. Measurement of work demands in the included studies was classified as direct, observation or self-report. All reported measurements of musculoskeletal symptoms were included, from self-reported discomfort in the short term to injury records over the longer term. Methods of assessing process variables were classified as questionnaire, observation, checklist, interview or direct measurement. Process variables were classified as awareness, attitude, ability (to change behaviour) and behaviour (changing and maintaining).
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
One reviewer selected studies for inclusion; in the event of uncertainty, a second reviewer assessed the study and a decision was reached by consensus.