Work and Family Support Systems and the Prevalence of Lower Back Problems in a South African Steel Industry
- 171 Downloads
Back complaints are a common in society.
An analytical cross-sectional epidemiological study was carried out among 366 steel plant workers to examine the prevalence and association between lower back problems (LBP) and family and workplace related psychosocial risk factors.
Using inclusive and stringent definitions for LBP, point prevalence was 35.8% and 15.3%, respectively. Logistic regression analyses indicated significant adjusted odd ratios (OR) for negative perceptions of workplace support (2.32; CI 1.09–4.92), unexpected events (2.58; CI 1.19–5.59) and working under time pressures and deadlines (2.83; CI 1.24–6.48). A significant protective association was found for control over the order and pace of working tasks (OR 0.30; CI 0.14–0.63). A significant univariate association was further found between LBP and negative perceptions of family (1.97; CI 1.06–3.68) support.
These findings suggest that workers who feel more in control on the job and who have good family and workplace support systems in tact are less likely to experience LBP. Supervisors are therefore encouraged to develop appropriate support and organizational systems which may be an inexpensive, but potentially beneficial, means of reducing worker stress and LBP.
KeywordsEpidemiology Back pain Steel workers Perceived risks South Africa
The authors would like to thank the management, in particular Deon van Vuuren, and the workforce of the specific steel plant under study for their cooperation.
- 4.Zinzen, E. (2002). Epidemiology: Musculoskeletal problems in Belgium nurses. In T. Reily (Ed.), Musculoskeletal disorders in health-related occupations (pp. 41–61). Ohmsha: IOS Press.Google Scholar
- 8.Documentation Based Care (2001). A complete concept for the rehabilitation of backs and necks. Referring doctors information. Muckleneuk Back and Neck Treatment Centre, February 2001: 2.Google Scholar
- 9.Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993: Report on the 2000 Statistics. South African Accident Fund 2001.Google Scholar
- 17.Bongers, P. M., de Winter, C. R., Kompier, M. A. J., & Hildebrandt, V. H. (1993). Psychosocial factors at work and musculoskeletal disease. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 19(5), 297–312.Google Scholar
- 20.Bernard, B. P. (1997) Musculoskeletal disorders and workplace factors: A critical review of epidemiological evidence for work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, upper extremity, and low back (chapt. 6–7). Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.Google Scholar
- 22.Hemingway, H., Shipley, M. J., Stansfeld, S., & Marmot, M. (1997). Sickness absence from back pain, psychosocial work characteristics and employment grade among office workers. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 23, 121–129.Google Scholar
- 23.Hurrell, J. J., & Murphy, L. R. (1992). Psychological job stress. In W. N. Rom (Ed.), The environmental and occupational medicine (pp. 675–684). New York: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
- 25.Choler, U., Larsson, R., Nachemson, A., Peterson, L. E. (1985). Pain in the back. Stockholm: Spri Rapport.Google Scholar
- 26.Bigos, S. J., Battie, M. C., Spengler, D. M., Fisher, L. D., Fordyce, W. E., Hansson, T. H., et al. (1992). A longitudinal, prospective study of industrial back injury reporting. Clinical Orthopaedics, 279, 21–34.Google Scholar
- 31.Good, M. D., Smilkstein, G., Good, B. J., Shaffer, T., & Aarons, T. (1979). The family APGAR index: A study of construct validity. The Journal of Family Practice, 8(3), 577–582.Google Scholar
- 33.Thomas, J. R., & Nelson, J. K. (1990). Research methods in physical activity, 2nd edn. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics Books.Google Scholar
- 38.Vingård, E., Alfredsson, L., Hagberg, M., Kilbom, A., Theorell, T., Waldenström, M., et al. (2000). To what extent do current and past physical and psychosocial occupational factors explain care- seeking for low back pain in a working population? Results from the musculoskeletal intervention center-Norrtälje stydy. Spine, 25(4), 493–500.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 39.Burdorf, A., & Sorock, G. (1997). Positive and negative evidence of risk factors for back disorders. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 23, 243–256.Google Scholar
- 40.Hoekstra , E. J., Hurrell, J.J., Swanson, N. G.(1994). Hazard evaluation and technical assistance report. Boston, MA: Social Security Administration Teleservice Centers; Fort Lauderdale, FL. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. NIOSH Report No. 92-0382-2450.Google Scholar
- 41.Sauter, S. L. (1984). Predictors of strain in VDT users, traditional office workers. In E. Grandjean (Ed.), The ergonomics and health in modern offices (pp. 129–135). London, England: Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar