Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Background: Musculoskeletal disorders are a leading cause of work-related ill health, and a major cost burden for the individual, industry and the community. Despite the broad range of risk factors that have been identified, most studies have focused only on specific occupations or categories of risk factors, meaning that there is limited understanding of the relative contributions of individual and organisational, physical and psychosocial factors. Objective: This cross-sectional survey of workers in medium-to-large workplaces in South Australia sought to examine a broad range of factors within various workplaces and industries. Participants: 404 workers from 29 workgroups and 23 separate companies participated in the research. Methods: Questionnaires were administered face-to-face, assessing demographic and job characteristics, safety climate, musculoskeletal pain and discomfort (MSPD) and job satisfaction. Potential predictors were grouped in terms of personal/job and organizational characteristics and associations with MSPD examined. Results: A considerable proportion of workers (40%) had experienced MSPD in the last 7 days and 15% had experienced severe MSPD. In a multivariate model, four variables were found to be significantly associated with MSPD, namely being aged ⩾ 40 years (adjusted odds ratio=1.73), overall job satisfaction (negatively associated) (AOR=0.37), medium (vs. large) company size (AOR=1.80) and workgroup safety climate score (negatively associated) (AOR=0.58). Conclusions: The results confirm a link between non-physical factors and work-related musculoskeletal disorders, suggesting that these factors should received increased attention as part of overall health and safety strategies. Organizations should give greater consideration to both the satisfaction of their employees and organizational factors that set the tone for safety climate.

Document Type

Journal Article

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