Self-reported variables as determinants of upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms in assembly line workers

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Background: Assembly lines work is frequently associated to work-related upper limb musculoskeletal disorders. The related disability and absenteeism make it important to implement efficient health surveillance systems. The main objective of this study was to identify self-reported variables that can determine work-related upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms—discomfort/pain–during a 6-month follow-up. Methods: This was a prospective study with a 6-month follow-up period, performed in an assembly line. Upper limb musculoskeletal discomfort/pain was assessed through the presence of self-reported symptoms. Uni- and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate which self-reported variables were associated to upper limb symptoms after 6 months at the present and to upper limbs symptoms in the past month. Results: Of the 200 workers at baseline, 145 replied to the survey after 6 months. For both outcomes, “having upper limb symptoms during the previous 6 months” and “education” were possible predictors. Conclusion: Our results suggest that having previous upper limb symptoms was related to its maintenance after 6 months, sustaining it as a specific determinant. It can be a hypothesis that this population had mainly workers with chronic symptoms, although our results give only limited support to self-reported indicators as determinants for upper limb symptoms. Nevertheless, the development of an efficient health surveillance system for high demanding jobs should implicate self-reported indicators, but also clinical and work conditions assessment should be accounted on the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-499
JournalSafety and Health at Work
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Automotive assembly line
  • High-demanding jobs
  • Occupational health
  • Work-related upper limb musculoskeletal disorders


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