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Risk factors for neck pain among forklift truck operators: a retrospective cohort study
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Dep. of Behavioural Science and Social Work. Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. SALVE (Social challenges, Actors, Living conditions, reseach VEnue). Futurum, Academy for Health and Care, Region Jönköping County, Jönköping, Sweden.
Neuro-Orthopedic Center, Ryhov Hospital, Jönköping, Sweden.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
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2018 (English)In: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, ISSN 1471-2474, E-ISSN 1471-2474, Vol. 19, no 44, p. 1-10Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: No previous research has been performed into neck pain among forklift operators. This is a common complaint among these workers, who number around 150,000 in Sweden and six million in Europe. The aim of the study was to examine long-term exposure to unnatural neck positions among forklift operators as a risk factor for neck pain.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted of all eligible employees at a high-level warehouse. Forklift operators and office workers answered an 18-page questionnaire comprising questions about joint pain, work tasks, work postures and year of start for all items. By using person years in the exposed and less-exposed groups before start of neck pain we were able to calculate Incident Rate ratios for various exposures.

RESULTS: Forty nine percent of the forklift operators reported having experienced neck pain compared to 30 % of office workers. Being a forklift operator was associated with an increased risk of neck pain (OR = 5.1, 95% CI 1.4-18.2). Holding the head in an unnatural position resulted in significantly increased risks for neck pain, irrespective of type of position. The risks for neck pain remained after taking other ergonomic exposures and psychosocial aspects into consideration.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first published study showing that forklift operators have an increased risk of neck pain. The results are therefore of significance for improving work schedules, the adjustment of work tasks for these workers and the design of the vehicles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2018. Vol. 19, no 44, p. 1-10
Keywords [en]
Ergonomics, Forklift operators, Neck pain, Occupational medicine, Retrospective cohort study, Work postures
National Category
Orthopaedics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-38815DOI: 10.1186/s12891-018-1956-3ISI: 000424785700001PubMedID: 29426319Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85041929368OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-38815DiVA, id: diva2:1182231
Available from: 2018-02-12 Created: 2018-02-12 Last updated: 2018-03-02Bibliographically approved

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Rolander, Bo

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