Minnesota Department of Transportation Research Services Section
An analysis of workers’ compensation data showed that five job classifications accounted for over 93%
of all cases. This analysis also showed that 48% of the cases resulted in sprains and strains, and 70% of
those cases were caused by over-exertion and/or awkward work postures. Based on these findings, a
research proposal was created to investigate worker perceptions of potential musculoskeletal injury
factors and possible corrective actions. Fifty randomly-selected Mn/DOT transportation generalists and
mechanics from District 1 were interviewed via telephone. Interviews were voice recorded, transcribed,
and analyzed by shortening and separating responses. Each of the six questions produced between fifteen
to twenty-one response categories and total response counts between 63-to-123. The most frequently cited
safety concern was exposure to public traffic on road projects; followed by heavy or awkward lifting,
“rushing” to get a job done and exposure to typical construction site hazards. Overall, workers felt
management and co-workers were committed to safety on the job. Possible safety improvements revolved
around: general awareness, watching out for each other, planning ahead, taking time to do the job right,
and proper use of personal protective equipment. Most of the workers interviewed indicated interest in
participating and promoting a workplace wellness program to improve their health and fitness. Efforts to
reduce musculoskeletal injuries need to incorporate the concerns and ideas of workers, building off of
what was learned in this study.
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Research Services Section
Loushine, Todd William.
Evaluation of Workforce Perceptions as a Means to Identify and Mitigate the Causes of Musculoskeletal Disorders.
Minnesota Department of Transportation Research Services Section.
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