Revista Española de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1135-5727
GARCIA, Ana M. et al. Participatory ergonomics: a model for the prevention of occupational musculoskeletal disorders. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.83, n.4, pp. 509-518. ISSN 1135-5727. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1135-57272009000400003.
Participatory ergonomics is an intervention strategy acting on physical load exposures occurring in occupational settings, scarcely known in Spain but with a number of experiences and evidences coming from other countries. There are several reasons justifying the interest of this approach. First, participatory ergonomics focuses on one of the categories of occupational exposures with the largest impact on workers' health in a majority of countries all over the world, in terms of incidence, prevalence and disability. Secondly, basic principle in participatory ergonomics is empowerment of workers for them to participate identifying risks and injuries caused by physical exposures at work as well as proposing and evaluating proper control measures for each situation. Thirdly, it allows dealing and solving a number of problems without the use of complex technical protocols. From a public health perspective, participatory ergonomics is a largely tried model of community empowerment for the control of (occupational) factors affecting health and wellbeing. In this paper we revise some basic principles of participatory ergonomics, we comment on the keys leading to success or failing of the interventions and we present some main results coming from participatory ergonomics experiences developed for a long time in countries such as Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands or Finland.
Keywords : Occupational Health; Workers; Ergonomics; Cumulative Trauma Disorders; Democracy.