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Int J Occup Environ Health. 2012 Jul-Sep;18(3):210-9. doi: 10.1179/1077352512Z.00000000029.

Musculoskeletal symptoms among female garment factory workers in Sri Lanka.

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Duke Global Health Institute, Durham, NC, USA.



To assess the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms and their association with sociodemographic risk factors among female garment factory workers in Sri Lanka.


1058 randomly selected female garment factory workers employed in the free trade zone of Kogalla, Sri Lanka were recruited to complete two interviewer-administered questionnaires assessing musculoskeletal symptoms and health behaviors.


Musculoskeletal complaints among female garment workers in the FTZ of Kogalla are less common than expected. Sociocultural factors may have resulted in underreporting and similarly contribute to the low rates of healthcare utilization by these women.


164 (15.5%) of workers reported musculoskeletal symptoms occurring more than 3 times or lasting a week or more during the previous 12-month period. Back (57.3%) and knee (31.7%) were the most common sites of pain. Although most symptomatic women reported that their problems interfered with work and leisure activities, very few missed work as a result of their pain. Prevalence correlated positively with increased age and industry tenure of less than 12 months. Job type, body mass index, and education were not significant predictors of musculoskeletal symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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