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Ergonomic principles in patient handling: Knowledge and practice of physiotherapists in Nigeria.

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Physiotherapists are advocates of workplace health and safety. Despite the high prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), there is limited knowledge of ergonomic principles have been successfully applied in the workplace by Nigerian physiotherapists.


This study evaluates the knowledge and practice of ergonomic principles in patient handling among physiotherapists in Nigeria.


A cross-sectional survey design was used to sample 360 physiotherapists practicing in Nigeria. Participants responded to a three-part structured questionnaire that had a reliability coefficient of 0.77. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and Chi-Square.


The majority (95.9% ) of the participants had good knowledge of the ergonomic principles in patient handling while only 48.6% reported practicing them. Poor practice was mainly due to a lack of patient handling equipment. There was no significant association between knowledge and practice of ergonomic principles among study participants. Specific areas of physiotherapy practice showed a significant association with ergonomic knowledge and practice. Years of physiotherapy practice and highest educational qualifications showed a significant association with the levels of practice and knowledge respectively.


Physiotherapists in Nigeria reported a good level of knowledge of ergonomic principles, but a poor practice level. Perhaps this non-adherence contributed to the high prevalence of WMSDs among physiotherapists in Nigeria.

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