Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are a significant problem in the oral health profession. This study explores oral health professionals' physical and psychosocial working environments in Australian workplaces.
Twelve oral health professionals from the public and private dental sectors participated in semi-structured interviews. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Themes were identified and a coding framework developed which was refined and clarified during analysis.
Participants reported a range of physical and psychosocial experiences in their work environment. Three major categories of themes were identified: Job Characteristics - particularly equipment unsuited for task and time constraints; Job Satisfaction - support from management and colleagues was valued, as was the significance of providing oral health care, particularly to children and minority groups; and Individual Factors - MSD and fatigue were reported by most participants.
Oral health professionals are exposed to a range of workplace physical and psychosocial hazards associated with the development of MSDs. Risk management programs for the prevention of MSDs should take into account the range of physical and psychosocial hazards that oral health professionals are exposed to.