Antecedents to workplace injury in the health care industry: A synthesis of the literature

Academic Article


  • Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved. Background: The U.S. Department of Labor has identified the health care industry as a major source of all U.S. workplace injuries. Studies have shown that injury within the health care workforce is related to high turnover rates, burnout, poor job satisfaction, and leaving the health care workforce permanently, thus contributing to the existing health care workforce shortages. Purpose: The purpose of this synthesis of the literature was twofold. The first was to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the occupational health and safety literature to determine the key antecedents to health care provider injury. The second was to utilize the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) framework to organize the findings. Methodology: Empirical studies published between 1985 and 2013 examining work-related injuries sustained by nurses and nurses' aides were systematically reviewed and evaluated for inclusion in the synthesis of the literature. Thirty-six studies met the criteria for inclusion. Using the NIOSH framework, antecedent variables to workplace injury were identified and then grouped into three broad categories that were highlighted during the synthesis: organization of work, job characteristics, and safety programs and training. A fourth category, individual characteristics, was added based on its use by many studies. Findings: Over half of the studies (n = 20) included factors within the organization of work category. Over two thirds of the studies (n = 26) included job characteristics such as task and demand. Nine studies contained information related to safety programs and training, whereas 17 studies included information on individual factors. The findings suggest that the NIOSH framework, with the addition of individual characteristics, provide a foundation for conceptually organizing occupational health and safety studies. Practice Implications: Health care administrators and leaders should be aware and understand the antecedents to workplace injury that will assist their organizations in developing training programs to reduce the current excessive rates of health care provider injury.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McCaughey D; Kimmel A; Savage G; Lukas T; Walsh E; Halbesleben J
  • Start Page

  • 42
  • End Page

  • 55
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 1