Volume 7, Issue 2 (Iranian Journal of Ergonomics 2019)                   Iran J Ergon 2019, 7(2): 1-10 | Back to browse issues page

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Sohrabi M S, Mahdavi N. The Effect of Participatory Ergonomic Interventions on the Level of Satisfaction and the Motivating Potential Score of Employees of a Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in Isfahan. Iran J Ergon. 2019; 7 (2) :1-10
URL: http://journal.iehfs.ir/article-1-613-en.html
Department of Ergonomics, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medial Sciences, Hamadan, Iran , nmahdavi1@yahoo.com
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The Medical Diagnostic Laboratory is an organization that examines samples taken from the human body (blood, urine, faeces, saliva, etc.) to diagnose and control diseases on the one hand and to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment on the other. Medical diagnostics laboratories are one the important professional centers whose accuracy, authenticity and speed while providing services are closely linked to community health.
They require subtle grip over long periods of time and inappropriate postures during a shift to perform various tests and repeat them (if needed) using computer and laboratory equipment. Some of the staff are also responsible for recording, reporting and delivering test results to customers. For this reason, medical laboratories’ staff are usually exposed to a wide range of environmental, physical, biomechanical, cognitive, and psychosocial factors during a shift.
Therefore, by recognizing the risk factors and correcting ergonomic inappropriate conditions, in addition to providing comfort, decreasing all kinds of ergonomic disorders and injuries, service and productivity should be improved. Since employees have a more complete and accurate understanding of their job, they can offer more appropriate suggestions for ergonomic problems, so to have a strong commitment to maintain and develop effective improvements and interventions; this can result in job satisfaction and higher performance. Thus, one of the most effective ways to achieve ergonomic goals in a laboratory setting can be said to be "participatory ergonomics" or "identifying, evaluating, and proposing ergonomic interventions by employees themselves". It seems that participatory ergonomics programs for staff of medical diagnostics laboratories, who are heavily influenced by ergonomic risk factors in workplace have never been the focus of ergonomics researchers.
Based on the above explanations, this study aimed to investigate the results of implementing a participatory ergonomics program with an organizational ergonomics approach in a medical diagnosis laboratory and the relationship between the performance of participatory ergonomics interventions and the level of job satisfaction and potential of employees.


Materials and Methods

This study is a quasi-experimental intervention that was performed among all employees of the governmental medical diagnostic laboratory in Isfahan in 2017. In the implementation of participatory ergonomic interventions, maintenance of physical and mental health of employees was considered and interventions were selected to improve working conditions.

At the beginning of the project process, the support and commitment of the senior management of the clinic to initiate the collaborative ergonomics project in the laboratory was obtained and after joint meetings with staff and laboratory management, the members of the collaborative ergonomics team were selected from among interested, experienced and effective individuals. The team was named "Participatory Ergonomic Intervention Team (PEIT)" and membership cards were issued for all members. Next, three 2-hour PEIT training sessions were organized by the ergonomics facilitator focusing on ergonomics principles, goals of participatory ergonomics interventions, job stress, job satisfaction, employee productivity, familiarity with the tools used and implemented and conducting the project’s stages.
To identify organizational problems, the PEIT team conducted direct workplace visits and conducted group interviews with the staff. At this stage, the level of job satisfaction and job characteristics were measured by the research tools (Minnesota Job Satisfaction Questionnaire and Wagner Job Recognition Questionnaire). After finding the main problems related to the project objectives and identifying solutions, the necessary actions were taken and used one month after the implementation of reports and feedback of the staff and management to correct the actions. Finally, after two months, job satisfaction and job characteristics were measured again to assess the impact of the interventions. Some of the solutions were omitted from the program by the manager of the clinic, and some were temporarily suspended after a month of trial because of problems they caused for some staff and needed further investigation.



The importance of the organizational problems identified by the PEIT team and the initial and corrective solutions implemented are shown in Table 1.

Table 1.

Comparing the two groups before and after the intervention, only the atmospheric scale had a significant difference (P=0.016) with an increase of 13.64%. Changes in other scales were not significant despite the increase or decrease. Employee satisfaction level increased by 1.56% but this value was not statistically significant (P=0.513).
In the significant analysis of comparison between the two states, before and after the components of job recognition profile, the independence dimension increased significantly (P=0.024) with a 0.48-unit increase. Potential motivational power also showed a significant change (P=0.013) with an increase of 8.4 points.



This study aimed to implement interventions derived from collaborative ergonomics to increase the level of satisfaction and motivational potential of medical laboratory staff. Despite a significant increase in motivational potential, there was not a significant increase in job satisfaction. This appears to be due to the complexity of the relationships between the technical and social subsystems of the workplace and the multiple impacts of other unknown factors on employees' job satisfaction, productivity, and health.
In the present study, the payment system has the highest rate of dissatisfaction with the designated staff and the level of job satisfaction is about average. Also, the most important intervention by the participatory ergonomics intervention team increased autonomy in decision making, which significantly increased the 0.48 unit of independence in job recognition profile. Unfortunately, due to management constraints, there was no intervention to reduce the fatigue caused by the labor and payment systems. This can also lead to no change in job satisfaction levels for the employees.
Given the dramatic impact of employee motivation on job satisfaction and the coordination of potential motivational power distribution among participants in other previous studies (1), the longer-term effects of interventions on job satisfaction are likely to be determined. The researchers, in line with previous studies (2-7), have seen the positive effect of participatory ergonomics interventions in studios or small organizations, and the use of participatory ergonomics as a suitable tool to implement workplace improvements and motivate employees are recommend.



Collaborative ergonomics is one of the most effective ergonomics strategies for making changes to increase health and productivity. Therefore, in this study, participatory ergonomics was used to improve job satisfaction and motivation of employees. The results of this study showed that participatory ergonomics and increased involvement of employees in ergonomics related decisions increase some aspects of job satisfaction and motivation among employees. However, it is recommended that the time remaining to influence the interventions be longer to see more sustainable results.



The authors thank all those who helped them writing this paper.


Conflicts of Interest

The authors declared that there are no conflicts of interest.


Type of Study: Applicable | Subject: Special
Received: 2019/02/15 | Accepted: 2019/05/26 | ePublished: 2019/11/6

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