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J Occup Health. 2007 Sep;49(5):418-23.

Musculoskeletal problems among workers of an Iranian rubber factory.

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Occupational Health Department, School of Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Iran.


Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a common health problem throughout the world and a major cause of disability among the work force. Assessment of exposure level to MSD risk factors can be an appropriate base for planning and implementing interventional ergonomic programs in the workplace. This study was conducted among workers of an Iranian rubber factory with the objectives of (a) determination of the prevalence of MSDs among production line workers, and (b) assessment of the level of exposure to MSD risks. In this study, all 16 production units of the factory were studied. In each unit, 50% of the workers were randomly selected and included in the study. A total of 454 workers participated. The Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire was used to study the prevalence of MSDs and the Quick Exposure Check (QEC) technique was applied to assess physical exposure to the risks. The videotaping technique was used to collect the required data for each worker. The vast majority of the workers (73.6%) had suffered from some kind of musculoskeletal symptoms during the last 12 months. The highest prevalence was reported in the lower back (50.2%), knees (48.5%) and upper back (38.1%). In 85.5% of the workers studied, the QEC score was high or very high. Statistical analysis showed a significant association between the QEC level of risk and MSDs symptoms (p<0.001). The most common ergonomics problems were found to be awkward postures and manual material handling. MSDs had occurred with a high rate among workers of this rubber factory. Corrective measures for reducing risk level seemed essential. Elimination of awkward postures and manual material handling in the workplace were recommended.

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