Musculoskeletal disorders and work-related injuries among hospital day-and shift workers

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Flavia D'Agostin
Corrado Negro


Healthcare workers, musculoskeletal disorders, occupational injuries


Background: Most research findings show that shift-and night work are associated with cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neurological disorders as well as work-related injuries among health care workers. Objectives: This sample based study on 246 hospital workers was performed to determine whether shift work may affect musculoskeletal disorders and injury risk. Methods: During the health surveillance program, data were collected by means of the Nordic questionnaire and the risk evaluation document. Results and conclusions: A sample of 134 shift workers was compared to a sample of 112 day workers. Hospital day workers were found  to be at greater risk of musculoskeletal symptoms in single or multiple body sites than shift workers. The prevalence of symptoms in the low back (63% vs 50%), neck (54% vs 42%) and upper extremities (26% vs 12%) was significantly higher in day workers than shift workers. In particular, among day nurses the prevalence of complaints in the upper extremities was more elevated (p<0,01) than nurses working in shifts; whereas, technicians working during the day reported more frequently symptoms in the neck (p<0,05) than technicians working in shifts. However, the average age and work experience were significantly higher in day workers than shift workers. Furthermore, the study showed that nursing personnel  was at great risk of sustaining an occupational musculoskeletal injury, especially for nurses working in shifts on medical and surgical wards. Data suggest that, concerning shift work planning, it is important to consider the workload according to activity.


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