A research framework for the development and implementation of interventions preventing work-related musculoskeletal disorders

Allard J. Van Der Beek, Jack T. Dennerlein, Maaike A. Huysmans, Svend Erik Mathiassen, Alex Burdorf, Willem Van Mechelen, Jaap H. Van Dieën, Monique H.W. Frings-Dresen, Andreas Holtermann, Prawit Janwantanakul, Henk F. Van Der Molen, David Rempel, Leon Straker, Karen Walker-Bone, Pieter Coenen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are highly prevalent and put a large burden on (working) society. Primary prevention of work-related MSD focuses often on physical risk factors (such as manual lifting and awkward postures) but has not been too successful in reducing the MSD burden. This may partly be caused by insufficient knowledge of etiological mechanisms and/or a lack of adequately feasible interventions (theory failure and program failure, respectively), possibly due to limited integration of research disciplines. A research framework could link research disciplines thereby strengthening the development and implementation of preventive interventions. Our objective was to define and describe such a framework for multi-disciplinary research on work-related MSD prevention. Methods We described a framework for MSD prevention research, partly based on frameworks from other research fields (ie, sports injury prevention and public health). Results The framework is composed of a repeated sequence of six steps comprising the assessment of (i) incidence and severity of MSD, (ii) risk factors for MSD, and (iii) underlying mechanisms; and the (iv) development, (v) evaluation, and (vi) implementation of preventive intervention(s). Conclusions In the present framework for optimal work-related MSD prevention, research disciplines are linked. This framework can thereby help to improve theories and strengthen the development and implementation of prevention strategies for work-related MSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-539
Number of pages14
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health
Issue number6
Early online date17 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Back pain
  • Low-back pain
  • MSD
  • Musculoskeletal disease
  • Occupational
  • Pain
  • Prevention
  • Upperextremity symptom

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