Relations between occupational, psychosocial and individual factors and three different categories of back disorder among supermarket workers

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Abstract

Objectives: Up-to-date store-wide studies regarding low back pain (LBP) among supermarket/hypermarket workers are lacking. We investigated 12-month store-wide prevalence of different categories of LBP and possible associated biomechanical, individual/psychosocial risk factors across a large supermarket/hypermarket chain. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of 3,702 subjects working in a group of small/medium-sized supermarkets (n=100) and large hypermarkets (n=7) belonging to a single chain in central-northern Italy applying established ergonomics/job-satisfaction policies. Data regarding the various departments were collected by a medical check-list, physical examination and questionnaire—all conducted by qualified physicians—and were analyzed in relation to a comprehensive biomechanical risk analysis. Results: The overall 12-month prevalence of LBP in our sample (with a 82% response rate) was 34.5% (36.6% for females and 30.7% for males), with few differences being found between supermarkets and hypermarkets. Different types of LBP showed significant associations with stress-related psychosomatic symptoms, but not with job satisfaction (which was high). Conclusions: These encouraging data provide relevant information regarding workers operating in supermarkets/hypermarkets with an active commitment to ergonomic and job-satisfaction policies.