Injury by design: A thematic networks and system dynamics analysis of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in tram drivers

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - tram/light rail, ridership - drivers, planning - personal safety/crime


Rail, Systems dynamics, Risk perception, Occupational injury, Organisation behaviour


Tram driving is a safety critical task where work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) and injuries are associated with interacting occupational design factors over time. These interactions then carry implications for workforce retention, public safety, workplace relations and supports. To better understand such interactions, this study used thematic networks and system dynamics (causal loop diagrams) analysis with the aim to unearth a global theme underscoring occurrence of WRMSDs, and describe the factors influencing the system dynamics of WRMSD occurrence in tram drivers. Building on earlier work focused on occupational participation, secondary analysis of driver interviews (n = 13) and driving observations (n = 11) produced thematic network and causal loop models of risk factors that highlighted an Injury by Design problem structure as a global theme. Research targeting organisational culture, human factors, and design standards is needed to minimise WRMSDs risk in tram drivers.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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