MAPO Method to Assess the Risk of Patient Manual Handling in Hospital Wards: A Validation Study

Carlo Cantarella, Giulia Stucchi, Olga Menoni, Dario Consonni, Silvia Cairoli, Rosa Manno, Marco Tasso, Luca Galinotti, Natale Battevi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To validate the effectiveness of MAPO method (Movement and Assistance of Hospital Patient) after the introduction of some changes to improve assessment objectivity. Background: The number of operators exposed to patient manual handling is increasing considerably. MAPO, proposed in 1999 as a useful tool to estimate the risk of patient manual handling, is a method characterized by analytical quickness. It has recently been improved to better match the 2012 ISO (International Organization for Standardization) technical report. Methods: A multicenter study was conducted between 2014 and 2016 involving 26 Italian hospitals in the Apulia Region. MAPO method was used to assess the risk of patient manual handling in 116 wards. A total of 1,998 exposed subjects were evaluated for the presence or absence of acute low back pain in the previous 12 months. Results: Only 12% of the investigated wards fell in the green exposure level (MAPO index = 0.1–1.5), 37% resulted in the average exposure level (MAPO index = 1.51–5) and the remaining 51% in the higher exposure level (MAPO index >5). The results confirmed a positive association between increasing levels of MAPO index and the number of episodes of acute low back pain (adjusted p trend =.001). Conclusion: The improvements made over the past years led to a more objective assessment procedure. Despite the changes, the study confirmed the effectiveness of MAPO method to predict low back pain. Application: MAPO method is an accurate risk assessment tool that identifies and evaluates workplace risks. The proper application of the method significantly improves working conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1149
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • caregivers
  • low back pain
  • patient manual handling
  • risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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