Daily shoulder pain among flight baggage handlers and its association with work tasks and upper arm postures on the same day
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© The Author 2017. Objectives: This study of flight baggage handlers aimed at examining the extent to which shoulder pain developed during single work shifts, and whether a possible development was associated with biomechanical exposures and psychosocial factors during the same shift. Methods: Data were collected during, in total, 82 work shifts in 44 workers. Right and left shoulder pain intensity was rated just before and just after the shift (VAS scale 0-100 mm). Objective data on 'time in extreme' and 'time in neutral' upper arm postures were obtained for the full shift using accelerometers, and the baggage handlers registered the number of 'aircrafts handled' in a diary. During half of the shift, workers were recorded on video for subsequent task analysis of baggage handling. 'Influence' at work and 'support' from colleagues were measured by use of Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ). Associations between exposures and the increase in pain intensity during the shift ('daily pain') were analysed for the right and left shoulder separately using Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE). Results: 'Daily pain' was observed in approximately one third of all shifts. It was significantly associated with the number of 'aircrafts handled' for both the right and left shoulder. In multivariate models including both biomechanical exposures and the psychosocial factors 'influence' at work and 'support' from colleagues, 'aircrafts handled' was still significantly associated with 'daily pain' in both shoulders, and so was 'influence' and 'support', however in opposite directions. Conclusions: 'Daily pain' was, in general, associated with biomechanical exposures during the same shift and with general 'influence' and 'support' in the job. In an effort to reduce pain among flight baggage handlers, it may therefore be justified to consider a reduction of biomechanical exposures during handling of aircrafts, combined with due attention to psychosocial factors at work.
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