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      Prevalence and Associated Factors of Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Cleaners Working at Mekelle University, Ethiopia

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          Musculoskeletal disorder is a common cause of morbidity, disability, and poor quality-of-life. Its burden among cleaners in developed countries ranges from 56–90%. However, there are a lack of studies in developing countries, particularly in the study area. Thus, the result of this study will help to resolve health problems caused by musculoskeletal disorders among cleaners.


          The objective of this study was to identify the prevalence and associated factors of musculoskeletal disorders among cleaners working at Mekelle University.

          Materials and Methods

          An institutional-based cross-sectional study was conducted on 270 cleaners. Simple random sampling was used to select the study participants. Data were collected through interview using the standard Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and bivariate logistic regression were done to identify factors associated with musculoskeletal disorder. In bivariate logistic regression analysis, variables with a P-value<0.25 were modeled to multivariate analysis. Variables with a P-value≤0.05 with 95% confidence interval (CI) in multivariate model were taken as statistically significant. Finally, AOR with 95% CI at a P-value<0.05 was reported.


          This study found that the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among cleaners was 52.3% in the past 12 months and 31.8% in the last 7 days. Time pressure (AOR=3.25, 95% CI=1.08–9.77), work experience (AOR=2.49, 95% CI=1.12–5.52), feeling exhausted (AOR=2.68, 95% CI=1.16–6.20), working hours per day (AOR=3.55, 95% CI=1.54–8.20), awkward posture (AOR=15.71, 95% CI=6.47–38.17), and those who work more than 2 hours in sustaining position (AOR=8.05, 95% CI=2.25–28.85) showed a statistically significant association with musculoskeletal disorder.


          Musculoskeletal disorders were commonly reported among cleaners working at Mekelle University. Time pressure, work experience, feeling exhausted, working hours per day, awkward posture, and working >2 hours in sustaining position were statistically significant in their association with musculoskeletal disorders.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Risk factors for work-related musculoskeletal disorders: A systematic review of recent longitudinal studies.

          This systematic review was designed and conducted in an effort to evaluate the evidence currently available for the many suggested risk factors for work-related musculoskeletal disorders. To identify pertinent literature we searched four electronic databases (Cinahl, Embase, Medline, and The Cochrane Library). The search strategies combined terms for musculoskeletal disorders, work, and risk factors. Only case-control or cohort studies were included. A total of 1,761 non-duplicated articles were identified and screened, and 63 studies were reviewed and integrated in this article. The risk factors identified for the development of work-related musculoskeletal disorders were divided and organized according to the affected body part, type of risk factor (biomechanical, psychosocial, or individual) and level of evidence (strong, reasonable, or insufficient evidence). Risk factors with at least reasonable evidence of a causal relationship for the development of work-related musculoskeletal disorders include: heavy physical work, smoking, high body mass index, high psychosocial work demands, and the presence of co-morbidities. The most commonly reported biomechanical risk factors with at least reasonable evidence for causing WMSD include excessive repetition, awkward postures, and heavy lifting. Additional high methodological quality studies are needed to further understand and provide stronger evidence of the causal relationship between risk factors and work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The information provided in this article may be useful to healthcare providers, researchers, and ergonomists interested on risk identification and design of interventions to reduce the rates of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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            Physical workload, work intensification, and prevalence of pain in low wage workers: results from a participatory research project with hotel room cleaners in Las Vegas.

            Occupational injury rates among hotel workers exceed the national service sector average. This study assesses the prevalence of back and neck pain, and its associations with physical workload, ergonomic problems, and increasing work demands. Nine hundred forty-one unionized hotel room cleaners completed a survey about health and working conditions. Associations between job demands and pain were determined by logistic regression models adjusting for individual characteristics, cumulative work demands, care-taking responsibilities at home, and psychosocial job factors. The 1-month prevalence of severe bodily pain was 47% in general, 43% for neck, 59% for upper back, and 63% for low back pain. Workers in the highest exposure quartiles for physical workload and ergonomic problems were between 3.24 and 5.42 times more likely to report severe pain than workers in the lowest quartile. Adjusted odds ratios for work intensification ranged from 1.74 (upper back) to 2.33 (neck). Most room cleaners experience severe back or neck pain. Severe pain showed strong associations with physical workload, work intensification, and ergonomic problems.
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              Differences in physical workload, psychosocial factors and musculoskeletal disorders between two groups of female hospital cleaners with two diverse organizational models.

              To clarify if differences in the physical workload, the psychosocial factors and in musculoskeletal disorders can be attributed to work organizational factors. The physical workload (muscular activity of m. trapezius, positions and movements of the head, upper arms and wrists and heart rate) was assessed in 24 female hospital cleaners working in a traditional work organization (TO) and in 22 working in an extended one (i.e. with an enlarged work content and more responsibilities; EO). The psychosocial work environment was assessed as job demand, decision latitude and social support in 135 (TO) and 111 (EO) cleaners, and disorders of the neck and upper extremity by a physical examination. The EO group was associated with lower physical workload, in terms of heart rate ratio (23 vs 32; P<0.001), head and upper arm positions and movements (right upper arm, 50th percentile, 35 degrees/s vs 71 degrees/s; P<0.001) and wrist movements (20 degrees/s vs 27 degrees/s; P=0.001), than the TO group. The EO group reported higher decision latitude and lower work demand than the TO one, while we found no difference in social support. The prevalence of complaints and diagnoses in neck/shoulders were lower in the EO group (diagnoses 35% vs 48%; P=0.04). Moreover, the prevalence of subjects with at least ten physical finding in elbows/hands was lower in the EO group (10 vs 29; P<0.001). Hospital cleaners have a high prevalence of neck and upper limb disorders and a high physical workload. Comparing two groups of cleaners, with differences in the way of organizing the work, lower physical workload, more beneficial psychosocial factors and a better musculoskeletal health was found in the group with an extended organization. Hence, the differences found can be attributed to the organizational factors.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                09 September 2020
                : 13
                : 2239-2246
                [1 ]Department of Physiotherapy, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Ayder Comprehensive Specialized Hospital, Mekelle University , Mekelle, Ethiopia
                [2 ]Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University , Mekelle, Ethiopia
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Haimanot Melese Mekelle University , P.O. Box: 1871, Mekelle, EthiopiaTel +251 927 608583 Email haimanotphysio@gmail.com
                © 2020 Melese et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 6, References: 21, Pages: 8
                Funded by: Mekelle University;
                Original Research


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