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PLoS One. 2018 Dec 14;13(12):e0207837. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207837. eCollection 2018.

Musculoskeletal injuries and absenteeism among healthcare professionals-ICD-10 characterization.

Author information

Department of Occupational Health, Centro Hospitalar Universitário São João, Porto, Portugal.
EPIUnit - Instituto de Saúde Pública, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal.
USF Espaço Saúde, ACeS Porto Ocidental, Porto, Portugal.
USF Brás Oleiro, ACeS Porto Ocidental, Porto, Portugal.
USF Prelada, ACeS Porto Ocidental, Porto, Portugal.
USF Maresia, ULS Matosinhos, Leça da Palmeira, Portugal.



Healthcare workers account for 10% of the EU's total workforce, with a significant proportion of those employed in hospitals. Musculoskeletal injuries are the predominant group of injuries in healthcare professionals due to the physical demands of their work, such as the mobilization and positioning of the dependent patients. The management of this type of problem should take into account direct and indirect costs, such as periods of incapacity for work due to illness, hiring and training of new employees during periods of absence, reduced levels of productivity and the effects on production and quality of work.


1-Characterization of injuries resulting from occupational accidents in hospital workers according to the International Classification of Diseases ICD-10; 2-Identification of the predictive factors of absenteeism duration due to temporary work incapacity in workplace accidents.


A retrospective observational study was conducted based on the analysis of 1621 cases of work-related accidents of employees of Centro Hospitalar São João from January 2011 to December 2014. An ICD-10 classification code was associated with each of the accident cases, based on pre-established criteria for classification of the specific diagnoses of musculoskeletal injuries. The duration of temporary work incapacity was compared between the categories of sociodemographic variables, among six categories of ICD-10 primary diagnosis (reclassification), and between the two major chapters of ICD-10 classification-chapter XIX (direct trauma) and chapter XIII (indirect trauma-strain injuries). The sociodemographic predictors of the occurrence of strain injuries were determined by logistic regression. A multinomial logistic regression analysis was conducted with selection of duration of work incapacity as the dependent variable.


A total of 824 cases of musculoskeletal injuries occurred on hospital premises during the study period, which corresponded to a total of 22159 lost workdays in the context of temporary work incapacity due to work injury. According to the ICD-10 reclassification, the three most frequent diagnostic groups were direct lower limb trauma (n = 230, 27.9%), spinal strain injuries (n = 194, 23.5%) and direct upper limb trauma (n = 174, 21.1%). Significant differences were observed in temporary work incapacity duration among the ICD-10 diagnostic categories: spinal strain injuries were the diagnostic group associated with longer duration of temporary work incapacity, with a median = 14.0 (25-75th percentile: 6.0-35.0). The only variable that demonstrated to be significantly predictive of temporary work incapacity less than or greater than 20 days was the ICD-10 diagnostic group. The regression results revealed a 5-fold increase in risk in the case of spinal strain injuries for temporary work incapacity durations of less than or greater than 20 days (OR = 5.58 and OR = 5.89 respectively).


The study findings support the benefits of the characterization of workplace injuries by medical diagnostic groups, namely in the interpretation of the sequelae of the accidents and the medical contextualization of the accidents. Association of ICD-10characterization can improve the analysis of workplace accidents at an institutional level, and promote the implementation of preventive measures and control of absenteeism.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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