A longitudinal study of musculoskeletal disorders in garment assembly work.
NIOSH 1992 Sep; :1-15
Musculoskeletal disorders are a widespread cause of impairment and disability in labor-intensive occupations. Limited epidemiologic evidence has linked upper extremity soft tissue disorders (UESTDs) such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and tendinitis to occupational ergonomic stressors. The vast majority of the epidemiologic research conducted on work-related musculoskeletal disease to date has been cross-sectional. The "healthy worker survivor effect" is believed to result in an underestimation of work-related increases in risk. Also, prospective data on the conditions under which episodic pain persists or remits is needed for adequate evaluation of the effect of exposure and design and interpretation of intervention studies. With respect to the definition of endpoints, several of the commonly used UESTD physical examination maneuvers have been shown to lack high sensitivity and specificity. Reproducibility among examiners has not been well studied. Since few objective diagnostic methods are feasible for large-scale screening, it will be valuable to determine whether testing two-point discrimination ability of the fingertips might be a measure of sensory nerve function that could be easily used in the field setting. Lastly, wage systems in which workers are paid per unit of production are believed to induce a very rapid work pace compared with hourly wage systems. The information in this study on hours worked and earnings will be used to examine whether there was a cross-sectional association between upper extremity pain and work pace (measured as average hourly output) among piece-rate workers.
Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Epidemiology; Tissue-disorders; Carpal-tunnel-syndrome; Work-environment; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Occupational-exposure
Laura Punnett, Sc.D, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Department of Work Environment, One University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854
Final Grant Report
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
University of Lowell, Department of Work Environment, Lowell, Massachusetts