Jun 16, 2020
Despite increased awareness of ergonomic best scanning practices, the incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) is increasing among sonographers, with up to 90% of the workforce scanning in pain.1, 2
Musculoskeletal injuries impair the welfare of these valuable members of the healthcare team and can negatively impact their job performance and the quality and safety of patient care.
The AIUM strongly encourages cooperation among employers, sonographers, and manufacturers to promote a safe work environment. Annual education in WRMSD with a focus on ergonomic design and hazard control to reduce risk factors for injury is of critical importance.3 Workflow strategies should allow rest and recovery times during a shift, and sonographers and others who perform ultrasound examinations should implement ergonomically correct scan techniques. More research is needed to determine best practices for reducing risk of injury and to further improve the ergonomic design of workstation equipment. Continued advocacy is needed to encourage manufacturers to engineer innovative designs and/or personal protective equipment to promote safety and reduce injuries suffered from the repetitive use of sonography equipment.
The AIUM supports the Industry Standards for the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography, developed through a 2016 Consensus Conference hosted by the SDMS.3
1. Evans K, Roll S, Baker J. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSD) among registered diagnostic medical sonographers and vascular technologists: a representative sample. J Diagn Med Sonography 2009; 25:287–299.?
2. Sayeed Y, Sully K, Robinson R. Work-related musculoskeletal injuries in sonographers and providers: the grand challenge. Ultraschall in Med 2020; 41:195–204.
3. Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Industry Standards for the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography. 2017. Available at https://www.sdms.org/docs/default-source/Resources/industry-standards-for-the-prevention-of-work-related-musculoskeletal-disorders-in-sonography.pdf. Accessed August 25, 2017.