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Epidemiology of work-related back pain: a summary of job factors.

Jensen RC
Manual Material Handling: Understanding and Preventing Back Trauma (Conference Proceedings), San Francisco, California, May 17, 1988. Kroemer KH; McGlothlin JD; Bobick TG, eds. 1989 Jan; :43-50
Job related factors associated with occupational back pain were discussed. The magnitude of the occupational back injury problem was considered. In the United States back problems account for 25% of worker's compensation claims. NIOSH has found that musculoskeletal injuries rank second among the major causes of occupational injury and illness. An important component of NIOSH's strategy for reducing the incidence and effects of musculoskeletal injuries is conducting epidemiological studies to identify risk factors. Epidemiological studies of job related factors associated with the risk of back injury were reviewed. These have shown that back pain is associated with the following factors: heavy work in general; frequent manual load lifting; occasional very stressful manual load lifting that causes large compressive forces on the lower vertebrae; manual lifting tasks having loads near a worker's strength capacity; sudden unforeseen events such as a stumble, trip, fall, or impact; jobs that require prolonged standing or sitting; and manual load handling tasks that require carrying, holding, wielding, or throwing objects, and other voluntary body motions. Most of the studies dealt with the association of low back pain with heavy and manual lifting. The author concludes that job related factors as well as personal factors are involved in the risk of back injury. Epidemiological studies have indicated that heavy work and manual lifting are significantly associated with an increased risk of low back pain.
Epidemiology; Job-analysis; Manual-lifting; Biomechanics; Manual-materials-handling; Risk-factors; Physical-stress; Back-injuries
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Kroemer KH; McGlothlin JD; Bobick TG
Fiscal Year
Source Name
Manual Material Handling: Understanding and Preventing Back Trauma (Conference Proceedings), San Francisco, California, May 17, 1988
Page last reviewed: October 8, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division