Working time and upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms: a longitudinal study among assembly line workers

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This study followed assembly line workers during 7 months, comprising a 4-wk season holidays. The main purposes were to determine the potential effect of working time on the presence and intensity of upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms, as to verify the effect of 4 wk of job interruption in the upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms presence and intensity. Data was collected during 6 moments. Generalized estimating equations analyses were used. For the effect estimates, odds ratio with corresponding 95% confidence intervals were reported for each outcome/model. The upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms showed a significant increase (p=0.001), especially after the 4 wk off. In all data collection points there was a significant positive association between the upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms and general health status (p<0.001). Considering symptoms' intensity, significant relations were found (p<0.001). Work time had a negative effect on the work-related upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms over 7 months (OR 0.909, 95% CI 0.861-0.960, p=0.001). For the intensity of upper limb symptoms, the effect of time was also statistical significant (OR 0.115, 95% CI 1.031-1.220, p=0.008). A 4-wk job interruption did not show an immediately positive effect on upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms presence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-53
JournalIndustrial health
Issue number1
Early online date27 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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