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      Ergonomic assessment of postal workers’ pain symptoms and musculoskeletal risks related to parcel processing activity for delivery

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          Abstract

          The parcel delivery activity is carried out all over the world and workers in this sector have suffered from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) due to the strong demand for work generated by the recent increase in e-commerce. This study aimed to evaluate postal workers' pain symptoms, movements and identify MSDs risks related to the parcel processing activity for delivery, proposing preventive measures. A sample of thirty-two workers was evaluated with the application of sociodemographic and Nordic questionnaires and electrical bioimpedance. The motion capture sensors were used to evaluate right/left shoulder joints, segment C7-T1 (Cervical) and segment L5-S1 (Lumbar) of three postal workers (percentiles of anthropometric data: 5, 50, and 95) during four real work activities that are part of the parcel processing. The analyzed workers presented musculoskeletal complaints in practically all body regions, with a greater prevalence in shoulders, hands, lower back, and knees. According to the Body Mass Index (BMI), they were on average overweight (27.8 ± 3.7 kg/m 2). In the movement analysis, we identified risks related to cervical protrusion, anterior trunk flexion, and shoulder flexion, in addition to repetitive movements. In some activities, the higher stature showed an increase in lumbar and cervical anterior flexion. The set of evaluations showed that the activity of processing orders for delivery offers musculoskeletal risks. We identify that ergonomic adaptations are necessary to adapt the heights of the work environment to the statures of the postal workers. Relevance to industry: The activity of processing orders for delivery is carried out practically all over the world generating jobs and income for its employees. Nonetheless, there are still situations of ergonomic disadvantage that can generate musculoskeletal risks. The findings elucidate ergonomic risks and provide useful information for future ergonomic interventions in the postal/delivery workplace environment.

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          Most cited references36

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          Validação do Questionário Nórdico de Sintomas Osteomusculares como medida de morbidade

          OBJETIVO: Validar a versão brasileira do Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire -- NMQ (Questionário Nórdico de Sintomas Osteomusculares -- QNSO) e apresentar as relações entre morbidade osteomuscular e variáveis demográficas, ocupacionais e relativas a hábitos. MÉTODOS: A versão brasileira do instrumento NMQ foi aplicada a uma amostra de 90 empregados em uma instituição bancária estatal, em Brasília, em 1999. Foram realizadas análises descritivas da amostra e de associação entre as variáveis. Os resultados foram comparados a dados relativos à história clínica de cada respondente. Realizou-se análise estatística de comparação entre grupos (Test t) e de correlação entre variáveis (Pearson). RESULTADOS: Os resultados mostraram concordância entre o relato de sintomas no NMQ e a história clínica em 86% dos casos. Foram verificadas diferenças na prevalência de sintomas quanto ao gênero, à função exercida e à prática de atividade física. As mulheres apresentaram maior média de severidade de sintomas em quase todas as regiões anatômicas; os gerentes relataram maior severidade de sintomas em região lombar do que escriturários; a prática de atividade física regular esteve associada à menor severidade de sintomas em membros superiores. CONCLUSÕES: Os resultados mostram um bom índice de validade concorrente para a versão brasileira do NMQ e recomendam sua utilização como medida de morbidade osteomuscular. Entretanto, o instrumento necessita de uma medida de severidade de sintomas e de alterações na diagramação e no conteúdo da escala para torná-la mais compreensível e menos suscetível a um excessivo número de respostas em branco.
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            Standardised Nordic questionnaires for the analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms.

            Standardised questionnaires for the analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms in an ergonomic or occupational health context are presented. The questions are forced choice variants and may be either self-administered or used in interviews. They concentrate on symptoms most often encountered in an occupational setting. The reliability of the questionnaires has been shown to be acceptable. Specific characteristics of work strain are reflected in the frequency of responses to the questionnaires.
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              Model for the work-relatedness of low-back pain.

              This study aimed at developing a model for determining the work-relatedness of low-back pain for a worker with low-back pain using both a personal exposure profile for well-established risk factors and the probability of low-back pain if the worker were unexposed to these factors. After a systematic review of the literature, the pooled prevalence of low-back pain in an unexposed population and the pooled odds ratio (OR) for each risk factor was calculated in a meta-analysis using a random effect model. An unbiased risk estimate for each risk factor was obtained by correcting the pooled OR for confounding by other risk factors. The probability of low-back pain was calculated with a logistic regression model. The input was (i) the age-dependent prevalence when not exposed and (ii) the unbiased risk estimates per risk factor of low and high exposure. The etiologic fraction was calculated to determine the level of work-relatedness. The pooled prevalence for low-back pain among unexposed subjects was 22%, 30%, and 34% for the 45-year age categories, respectively. The pooled OR was 1.51 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.31-1.74] for manual materials handling, 1.68 (95% CI 1.41-2.01) for frequent bending or twisting, 1.39 (95% CI 1.24-1.55) for whole-body vibration, and 1.30 (1.17-1.45) for job dissatisfaction. For high exposure to manual materials handling, frequent bending or twisting, and whole-body vibration, the pooled OR was 1.92, 1.93, and 1.63, respectively. The model is the first that estimates the probability of work-relatedness for low-back pain for a given worker with low-back pain seen by a general practitioner or an occupational health physician.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                EXCLI J
                EXCLI J
                EXCLI J
                EXCLI Journal
                Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors
                1611-2156
                27 April 2022
                2022
                : 21
                : 744-756
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ALGORITMI Research Centre (Portugal). Minho University - Azurém, Guimarães, PT
                [2 ]Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, SC
                [3 ]Empresa Brasileira de Correios und Telégrafos (ECT), Brasilia
                Author notes
                *To whom correspondence should be addressed: Lincoln Silva, ALGORITMI Research Centre (Portugal). Minho University – Azurém, Guimarães, PT
                Article
                2022-4857 Doc744
                10.17179/excli2022-4857
                9203984
                e54525f4-d657-423a-8cff-1a92523be76d
                Copyright © 2022 Silva et al.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) You are free to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Categories
                Original Article

                musculoskeletal disorders,parcel processing,motion capture,anthropometric data

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