MAPO index for risk assessment of patient manual handling in hospital wards: A validation study

N. Battevi, O. Menoni, M. Grazia Ricci, S. Cairoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Manual handling of disabled patients - as regards movement - is one of the major factors affecting acute low back pain of exposed nursing staff. In the absence of quantitative methods assessing this kind of risk, the Research Unit Ergonomics of Posture and Movement of Milan developed in 1997 a risk assessment method called Movement and Assistance of Hospital Patients (MAPO), which is applicable in hospital wards. A first study conducted in 1999 allowed the identification of three levels of MAPO index corresponding with increasing probabilities of being affected by acute low back pain. In accordance with the well-known traffic light model, for MAPO index values between 0 and 1.5 the risk is considered to be absent or negligible. For values between 1.51 and 5.00 the risk is considered to be moderate. For values exceeding 5.00 the risk is considered to be high. In view of the limitations of the previous study, the results needed confirmation and so, in 2000-2001, another cross-sectional study was carried out, which included 191 hospital wards for acute and chronic patients and 2603 exposed subjects. This paper presents the analytical results of the association between the MAPO index and acute low back pain in this new data sample. The agreement between results of the two studies indicates that the MAPO index can be used as a risk index, although with some caution, as detailed in the paper. It can assess the risk exposure level of patient manual handling in wards and can be a useful tool for planning effective preventive actions to reduce the risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in health-care workers looking after disabled patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-687
Number of pages17
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 10 2006


  • Exposure assessment
  • Handling patients
  • Low back pain
  • Manual lifting of patients
  • Nurses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Psychology(all)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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