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Cad Saude Publica. 2010 Mar;26(3):492-502.

Working conditions and musculoskeletal pain among Brazilian pottery workers.

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Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, Brasil.


In the municipality of Pedreira in São Paulo State, Brazil, a large number of workers from the ceramic industry have left their jobs because of work related musculoskeletal disorders. The objectives of this study were to describe the work conditions pertaining to the ceramic industry, to determine the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain and to identify the associations between symptoms and organizational, biomechanical, psychosocial and individual variables. Nine ceramic manufacturers participated. The activities of 18 individuals were analyzed through direct observation. All workers answered a questionnaire about work and health (n = 235). The results found that the general working conditions in the pottery manufacturers were poor. A 38.5% prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was found. Repetition, tool use, lack of control over decisions, worries regarding work demands, relationship issues, work dissatisfaction and the wish to move on to another function were all associated with pain. We concluded that musculoskeletal pain is one of the outcomes of elevated human requirements resulting from working conditions and organization in the ceramic industry.

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