Workplace initiatives have been developed based on the link between musculoskeletal injury and mental health. Before these initiatives can be formally introduced in Victoria, researchers are hoping to learn more about how they can prepare workplaces to accept this shift in perspective.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that most workers see mental health factors as being only marginally relevant to workplace musculoskeletal disorders.

This misconception will pose a significant barrier to the acceptance of new workplace policies and practices that have been developed around this link.

Investigating perceptions about the link

A research team led by Dr Jodi Oakman of La Trobe University conducted research in work environmentswhere there is high risk of both musculoskeletal and mental health disorders. Interviews were conducted about commonly-held beliefs and opinions around musculoskeletal injuries and mental health. A workshop was also held where the participants discussedthe findings in relation to their own workplaces.

The research report discusses issues related to the following research questions:

  1. What are workplace stakeholder beliefs and attitudes about factors affecting the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders and of mental health disorders?
  2. What are current workplace risk management practices and what information resources guide these practices, including those promoted by WorkSafe Victoria?
  3. What are workplace stakeholder perceptions of evidence-based risk management practices and what factors are likely to hinder or facilitate the implementation of these practices?

The research team identified the key barriers to the implementation of more effective workplace management of musculoskeletal disorder risk, and proposed recommendations around how to successfully implement new workplace procedures and policies in thisarea.

Download report: 'Workplace barriers to reducing the incidence of musculoskeletal and mental health disorders'

Related publications

The research team has also published the following journal articles: