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Risk factors for industrial back problems.
Semin Spine Surg 1992 Mar; 4(1):2-11
Risk factors for occupationally related back pain were discussed. Attempts to prevent work related back pain have been made for nearly 70 years using a variety of techniques for screening and testing the physical capability of prospective employees and establishing and enforcing safety and health regulations. Many of these attempts have been based on invalid assumptions about factors thought to be associated with an increased risk for back pain. Problems with retrospective studies of back pain were discussed. Such studies have produced misleading results because they are usually based on insurance records and absenteeism reports that are frequently incomplete and categorized for purposes other than back research. Prospective studies of risk factors for industrial back pain were reviewed. These have shown that nonphysical factors such as smoking, medical history, psychological factors, and level of job satisfaction are as important as physical factors. A multivariate regression model derived from information theory indicated that job satisfaction, psychological factors, the results of a physical examination, and medical history explained 8.6% of the probability that a worker would file a claim for a back injury. The role of the work environment in back pain was discussed. A number of studies have indicated that job stress and perceived level of social support at work are significantly associated with the risk that back pain will interfere with work. Physical lifting strength was not associated with back pain reports in a study of aircraft industry workers. The authors conclude that nonphysical factors are important in the etiology of industrial back pain.
NIOSH-Grant; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Back-injuries; Epidemiology; Risk-factors; Work-analysis; Manual-materials-handling; Psychological-factors; Risk-analysis; Job-stress; Manual-lifting
Orthopaedics, University of Washington, Department of Orthopaedics, Seattle, WA 98195
Issue of Publication
Seminars in Spine Surgery
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division