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Work. 2012;41 Suppl 1:1873-83. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2012-0401-1873.

Factors contributing to work related low back pain among personal care workers in old age.

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Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom. Hong Kong.


This study aims to preliminary explore the work related and individual factors that contributed to the occurrence of low back pain (LBP) that affected work activities of Personal Care Workers (PCWs). A cross-sectional study was conducted to 36 PCWs in an old age home of Hong Kong. The study is divided into three parts: 1) a questionnaire to document the workload exposure factors and the musculoskeletal symptoms survey of the PCWs, 2) work posture evaluation; and 3) an evaluation of the physical fitness and lifting capacity of the PCWs. Univariate analyses were used to explore the risk factors associated with LBP that affected work activities. The results indicated that individual physical profile and lifting capacities did not contribute to occurrence of low back pain at work. For the work demand factors, the perceived physical demands in lifting and lowering heavy objects, awkward sustain neck and back postures, loading on the back, and perceived effort of cleaning task contributed to the occurrence of LBP. For the physical environment factors, thermal stress and improper ventilation were associated with the occurrence of LBP cases. For the individual factor, LBP cases were associated with workers' self perceived muscular effort, and perceived risk of mental illness in response to work requirements.

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