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Musculoskeletal health and work ability in physically demanding occupations: Study protocol for a prospective field study on construction and health care workers

Background Musculoskeletal disorders have a profound impact on individual health, sickness absence and early retirement, particularly in physically demanding occupations. Demographics are changing in the developed countries, towards increasing proportions of senior workers. These senior workers may have particular difficulties coping with physically demanding occupations while maintaining good health. Previous studies investigating the relationship between physical work demands and musculoskeletal disorders are mainly based on self-reported exposures and lack a prospective design. The aim of this paper is to describe the background and methods and discuss challenges for a field study examining physical demands in construction and health care work and their prospective associations with musculoskeletal disorders, work ability and sickness absence. Methods and design This protocol describes a prospective cohort study on 1200 construction and health care workers. Participants will answer a baseline questionnaire concerning musculoskeletal complaints, general health, psychosocial and organizational factors at work, work demands, work ability and physical activity during leisure. A shorter questionnaire will be answered every 6th months for a total of two years, together with continuous sickness absence monitoring during this period. Analysis will prospectively consider associations between self-reported physical demands and musculoskeletal disorders, work ability and sickness absence. To obtain objective data...

Lunde, Lars-Kristian; Koch, Markus; Knardahl, Stein; Wærsted, Morten; Mathiassen, Svend Erik; Forsman, Mikael; Holtermann, Andreas; Veiersted, Kaj Bo
BMC Public Health 14(1)
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