The combined effect of physical, psychosocial/organisational and/or environmental risk factors on the presence of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms and its consequences

Baiduri Widanarko, Stephen Legg, Jason Devereux, Mark Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study assessed the combined effect of physical and psychosocial/organisational and/or environmental factors on the presence of musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS) and its consequences (reduced activities and absenteeism due to MSS) in a random sample of 3003 workers in New Zealand. By telephone interview, participants reported their current workplace exposures and MSS (neck/shoulder, arm/elbow, wrist and low back) and its consequences. Data were analysed using multivariable logistic regression. Combined exposure to physical and psychosocial/organisational and/or environmental factors increased the odds of MSS in the neck/shoulder (OR 3.14, 95% CI 1.79-5.52), arms/elbow regions (OR 4.14, 95% CI 2.21-7.76) and low back (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.28-2.37) and its consequences, i.e. reduced activities due to neck/shoulder symptoms (OR 5.45, 95% CI 2.28-13.00), absenteeism due to neck/shoulder symptoms (OR 5.19, 95% CI 2.24-12.01) and absenteeism due to low back symptoms (OR 4.37, 95% CI 2.92-6.53). In contrast, favourable psychosocial/organisational work conditions reduced the odds of wrist symptoms due to poor physical work conditions (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.44-3.34). We conclude that to reduce MSS and its consequences, employers need to adopt a multifaceted approach: concentrate on improving physical conditions as well as the psychosocial/organisational and environmental aspects of the working environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1610-1621
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Volume45
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Back pain
  • Interaction
  • Work stress

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