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Musculoskeletal disorders are more common among women than among men. When comparing
the difference between men and women in the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders,
methodological problems arise as men and women seldom perform the same type of activities,
neither at work nor at home. The main objective of this cross-sectional case study
was to compare work technique and self-reported musculoskeletal symptoms between men
and women performing the same type of work tasks within a metal industry. Other factors,
such as leisure activities, were also taken into consideration. Three data collection
methods were used; questionnaire, interviews and systematic observations. The results
from the observations revealed that women worked more frequently and during longer
times with their hands above shoulder height than men. Working with hands above shoulder
height is considered a risk factor for neck and shoulder disorders according to previous
studies. Workplace design factors were probably a reason for differences in working
technique between men and women. A higher proportion of women than men reported shoulder
symptoms. Women spent more time on household activities than men, which indicates
a higher total workload in paid and unpaid work.