Background: Nursing is known as an occupation with high risk of musculoskeletal injury. Nurses’ perceptions about the risk of injury may have a role in preventing such injury.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate how nurses perceived the risk of musculoskeletal injury from work and identify factors associated with their risk perception.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study using a postal survey, 361 critical care nurses reported on risk perception, physical workload, psychosocial job factors, safety climate, musculoskeletal symptoms, and safe work behavior.
Results: Of all critical care nurse respondents, 83% perceived that they were more likely than not to have a musculoskeletal injury within 1 year. On average, nurses perceived the risk of musculoskeletal injury as lower to themselves than to coworkers. This more positive perception of risk to self had stronger correlations with symptom experiences. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that higher risk perception of injury was associated with greater job strain, greater physical workload, lack of availability of lifting devices or lifting teams, and more symptoms.
Discussion: Study findings indicated that most critical care nurses were concerned about their ergonomic job risks. Their risk perceptions about musculoskeletal injury risk were affected by physical work exposures, psychosocial job stressors, and experience with musculoskeletal symptoms, but not by perceived workplace safety climate. The findings underscore the need for management efforts to improve physical and psychosocial working conditions and create a safe work environment.