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Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in bricklaying: a symptom and job factors survey and guidelines for improvements.

Cook-TM; Rosecrance-JC; Zimmermann-CL
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1996 Nov; 11(11):1335-1339
A survey of musculoskeletal symptoms in bricklayers and contributing job factors in this group was conducted. A questionnaire was mailed to all 211 members of a bricklayers union local in the midwest. The questionnaire requested information about work related musculoskeletal problems experienced by the members and job factors they felt may have contributed to the problems. Thirty nine usable responses were returned. The respondents had a mean age of 45 years (yr) and an average of 21.8yr experience as a bricklayer; 92.5% of the respondents were currently working and had worked an average of 39 weeks the past year. Low back pain was the most prevalent musculoskeletal problem being reported by 72.5% of the subjects. Low back problems also accounted for the most lost work time and the most physician visits. Shoulder, elbow, wrist or hand, neck, and knee problems were also reported by 54.1, 41.0, 41.0, 39.5, and 39.5% of the respondents, respectively. Working in awkward or cramped positions, working in the same position for long periods, bending or twisting the back in an awkward way, and working with the hands raised or extended were cited as significant job factors contributing to reported musculoskeletal problems. The authors conclude that a common pattern of work related musculoskeletal disorders exists among bricklayers. Awkward and static postures have been identified as a leading cause of the musculoskeletal problems. Ergonomic issues related to reducing the risk of musculoskeletal problems in bricklayers included locating the brick supply relative to the worker, weight of the bricks or blocks, group size of the brick or block supply, the rate at which a work task is repeated, and the duration of the work activity relative to the duration and frequency of work break.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Masons; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Construction-industry; Clinical-symptoms; Psychophysiology; Risk-factors; Posture; Ergonomics
Thomas M. Cook, Injury Prevention Research Center, Rural and Environmental Health Institute, The University of Iowa, 158C AMRF, Iowa City, Iowa 52242
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Source Name
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Performing Organization
Center to Protect Workers' Rights, Washington, DC