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Ind Health. 2007 Apr;45(2):365-70.

Prevalence of upper limb musculo skeletal disorders among brass metal workers in West Bengal, India.

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  • 1Ergonomics Laboratory, Department of Physiology, University College of Science and Technology, University of Calcutta, Calcutta, India.


Brass metal work is one of the oldest cottage industries in West Bengal, India. Workers performing rigorous hand intensive jobs are likely to suffer from MSD affecting the upper limbs. The present investigation was intended to establish the prevalence of upper limb MSD among the brass metal workers and to identify the causative factors behind its development. In this study, 50 male brass metal workers (Experimental Group) and 50 male office workers (Comparison Group) were selected. For the symptom survey, a questionnaire on discomfort symptoms was performed. Repetitiveness of work and Hand Grip Strength of both the groups were measured. It was revealed that upper limb MSD was a major problem among brass metal workers, primarily involving the hand, wrist, fingers and shoulder. Among the workers reporting subjective discomfort, most of them felt pain, followed by tingling and numbness in their hands. Many complained of swelling, warmth and tenderness in their wrists. Their activities were highly repetitive and the handgrip strength of these workers was significantly less than that of the comparison group. Based on these findings, it appears that high repetitiveness, prolonged work activity (10.5 h of work per day with 8.4 h spent on hammering) and decreased handgrip strength may be causative factors in the occurrence of upper limb MSD among brass metal workers in West Bengal, India.

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