Lower back disorders among forklift operators: an emerging occupational health problem?
Waters-T; Genaidy-A; Deddens-J; Barriera-Viruet-H
Am J Ind Med 2005 Apr; 47(4):333-340
Background: Most studies focusing on the occupational hazards associated with forklift operation have examined risks of fatalities and traumatic injuries. Few studies have examined the magnitude of risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). We review and critically appraise the epidemiological studies conducted on forklift operators in relation to MSDs, such as lower back pain and neck problems. Methods: A comprehensive search of databases resulted in the identification of seven epidemiological studies that addressed MSDs. A critical appraisal of these studies was conducted using epidemiological principles and a meta-analysis approach that involved the use of the confidence limit method to determine an overall meta-odds ratio. Results: The methodological quality of these studies ranged from marginal to average with the exception of one study, which was considered good. The meta-odds ratio for lower back pain among forklift operators was 2.13 (95% CI: 1.57, 2.87). Conclusions: Our results suggest that forklift operators are at increased risk of lower back pain. Additional high quality epidemiological studies are needed in the US, however, to determine the magnitude of risk for MSDs. In this regard, studies should address not only lower back pain among forklifts operators, but also neck pain. A full exposure assessment of physical and non-physical factors in these studies is needed.
Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Back-injuries; Neck-injuries; Equipment-operators; Ergonomics; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis
Thomas R. Waters, NIOSH (MS C-24), 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati OH 45226
American Journal of Industrial Medicine