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Gender differences in workers with identical repetitive industrial tasks: exposure and musculoskeletal disorders.

Nordander, Catarina LU ; Ohlsson, Kerstina LU ; Balogh, Istvan LU ; Hansson, Gert-Åke LU ; Axmon, Anna LU ; Persson, Roger LU and Skerfving, Staffan LU (2008) In International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 81(8). p.939-947
Abstract
OBJECTIVES: For unknown reasons, females run a higher risk than males of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether male and female workers, with identical repetitive work tasks, differ concerning risk of disorders, physical or psychosocial exposures. METHODS: Employees in two industries were studied; one rubber manufacturing and one mechanical assembly plant. These industries were selected since in both, large groups of males and females worked side by side performing identical repetitive work tasks. Physical exposure was measured by technical equipment. Postures and movements were registered by inclinometry for the head and upper arms, and by electrogoniometry for the wrists. Muscular activity... (More)
OBJECTIVES: For unknown reasons, females run a higher risk than males of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether male and female workers, with identical repetitive work tasks, differ concerning risk of disorders, physical or psychosocial exposures. METHODS: Employees in two industries were studied; one rubber manufacturing and one mechanical assembly plant. These industries were selected since in both, large groups of males and females worked side by side performing identical repetitive work tasks. Physical exposure was measured by technical equipment. Postures and movements were registered by inclinometry for the head and upper arms, and by electrogoniometry for the wrists. Muscular activity (muscular rest and %max) was registered by surface electromyography for m. trapezius and the forearm extensors (18 males and 19 females). Psychosocial work environment was evaluated by the demand-control-support model (85 males and 138 females). Musculoskeletal disorders were assessed (105 males and 172 females), by interview (last 7-days complaints), and by physical examination (diagnoses). RESULTS: Concerning physical exposure, females showed higher muscular activity related to maximal voluntary contractions [(%MVE); m. trapezius: females 18 (SD 9.2), males 12 (SD 4.3); forearm extensors: females 39 (SD 11), males 27 (SD 10), right side, 90th percentile]. Working postures and movements were similar between genders. Also, concerning psychosocial work environment, no significant gender differences were found. Females had higher prevalences of disorders [complaints: age-adjusted prevalence odds ratio (POR) 2.3 (95% CI 1.3-3.8) for neck/shoulders, 2.4 (1.4-4.0) for elbows/hands; diagnoses: neck/shoulder 1.9 (1.1-3.6), elbows/hands 4.1 (1.2-9.3)]. In 225 workers, PORs were adjusted for household work, personal recovery and exercise, which only slightly affected the risk estimates. CONCLUSION: In identical work tasks, females showed substantially higher muscular activity in relation to capacity, and higher prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders of the neck and upper extremity, than did males. (Less)
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
volume
81
issue
8
pages
939 - 947
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • pmid:18066574
  • wos:000256317800001
  • scopus:44749088978
ISSN
1432-1246
DOI
10.1007/s00420-007-0286-9
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ccf8836b-c5a9-4c49-8c3e-7d47edf17e2f (old id 1035513)
alternative location
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18066574?dopt=Abstract
date added to LUP
2009-07-09 09:59:16
date last changed
2017-08-13 03:53:49
@article{ccf8836b-c5a9-4c49-8c3e-7d47edf17e2f,
  abstract     = {OBJECTIVES: For unknown reasons, females run a higher risk than males of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether male and female workers, with identical repetitive work tasks, differ concerning risk of disorders, physical or psychosocial exposures. METHODS: Employees in two industries were studied; one rubber manufacturing and one mechanical assembly plant. These industries were selected since in both, large groups of males and females worked side by side performing identical repetitive work tasks. Physical exposure was measured by technical equipment. Postures and movements were registered by inclinometry for the head and upper arms, and by electrogoniometry for the wrists. Muscular activity (muscular rest and %max) was registered by surface electromyography for m. trapezius and the forearm extensors (18 males and 19 females). Psychosocial work environment was evaluated by the demand-control-support model (85 males and 138 females). Musculoskeletal disorders were assessed (105 males and 172 females), by interview (last 7-days complaints), and by physical examination (diagnoses). RESULTS: Concerning physical exposure, females showed higher muscular activity related to maximal voluntary contractions [(%MVE); m. trapezius: females 18 (SD 9.2), males 12 (SD 4.3); forearm extensors: females 39 (SD 11), males 27 (SD 10), right side, 90th percentile]. Working postures and movements were similar between genders. Also, concerning psychosocial work environment, no significant gender differences were found. Females had higher prevalences of disorders [complaints: age-adjusted prevalence odds ratio (POR) 2.3 (95% CI 1.3-3.8) for neck/shoulders, 2.4 (1.4-4.0) for elbows/hands; diagnoses: neck/shoulder 1.9 (1.1-3.6), elbows/hands 4.1 (1.2-9.3)]. In 225 workers, PORs were adjusted for household work, personal recovery and exercise, which only slightly affected the risk estimates. CONCLUSION: In identical work tasks, females showed substantially higher muscular activity in relation to capacity, and higher prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders of the neck and upper extremity, than did males.},
  author       = {Nordander, Catarina and Ohlsson, Kerstina and Balogh, Istvan and Hansson, Gert-Åke and Axmon, Anna and Persson, Roger and Skerfving, Staffan},
  issn         = {1432-1246},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {939--947},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health},
  title        = {Gender differences in workers with identical repetitive industrial tasks: exposure and musculoskeletal disorders.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00420-007-0286-9},
  volume       = {81},
  year         = {2008},
}