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Effectiveness of the revised NIOSH lifting equation to identify jobs with elevated rates of low-back pain.

Waters TR; Baron S; Piacitelli L; Putz-Anderson V; Sweeney M; Skov T; Wall D; Fine L
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 1998 May; :63
This report summarizes the results of a cross-sectional study of the relationship between exposure to manual lifting stressors and I-year prevalence of low-back pain (LBP) in workers employed in manual lifting jobs. The exposure was measured with the Lifting Index (LI), a component of the revised NIOSH lifting equation. The NIOSH lifting equation has been proposed as a practical, yet valid tool for assessing the risks of LBP due to manual lifting. To date, however, there have been few studies to evaluate the effectiveness of the equation to identify jobs with elevated rates of LBP. In theory, the risk of LBP increases as the LI for a job increases above 1.0. In this study, 50 jobs from 4 industrial sites were evaluated with the NIOSH lifting equation. A symptom and occupational history questionnaire was administered to 204 persons employed in the lifting jobs and 80 persons employed in nonlifting jobs to determine 1-year prevalence of LBP. Multivariate regression analysis was used to determine if there was a relationship between the LI and reported LBP. We found that the odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the 0<LI<1, 1<LI<2, 2<LI<3, and LI>3 categories were 1.14 (0.16- 5.29), 1.54 (0.60-3.80), 2.45 (1.29-4.85), and 1.63 (0.66-3.95), respectively. We believe that the reduced odds ratio for jobs with an LI>3 is due to a "worker selection" or a "survivor effect." It was concluded that the LI appears to be a useful indicator for risk of LBP due to manual lifting, even though LBP is a common disorder.
Ergonomics; Back-injuries; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Biomechanics; Manual-materials-handling; Manual-lifting; Risk-analysis; Physical-stress; Job-analysis; Industrial-environment; Industrial-exposures; Health-surveys; Questionnaires; Workers; Worker-health; Workplace-studies; Statistical-analysis; Risk-factors
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 9-15, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: April 8, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division