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Work-related musculoskeletal symptoms among construction workers in the pipe trades


Workers in the construction trades experience high rates of injuries and illnesses, including work-related musculoskeletal disorders. As the basis for formulating and implementing ergonomic changes to reduce musculoskeletal disorders among workers in the pipe trades, a cross-sectional survey was conducted. The survey instrument assessed the prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms and identified job factors that may contribute to those symptoms. A two-page questionnaire was mailed out to members of three plumber and pipe/steamfitter unions. Results from 526 (40% response rate) apprentices and journeymen indicated that the highest work-related symptoms and reported lost work time due to those symptoms, were in the back, neck, and knees. Awkward postures and working in the same position for long periods were identified as the leading causes of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms. These results can be used to formulate appropriate intervention strategies for the reduction of musculoskeletal symptoms for construction workers in the pipe trades.