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1.  Validity of Questionnaire and Representativeness of Objective Methods for Measurements of Mechanical Exposures in Construction and Health Care Work 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0162881.
To determine the criterion validity of a questionnaire on physical exposures compared to objective measurements at construction and health care sites and to examine exposure variation over several working days.
Five hundred ninety-four construction and health care workers answered a baseline questionnaire. The daily activities (standing, moving, sitting, number of steps), postures (inclination of the arm and the trunk), and relative heart rate of 125 participants were recorded continuously over 3–4 working days. At the end of the first measurement day, the participants answered a second questionnaire (workday questionnaire).
All objective activity measurements had significant correlations to their respective questions. Among health care workers, there were no correlations between postures and relative heart rate and the baseline questionnaire. The questionnaires overestimated the exposure durations. The highest explained variance in the adjusted models with self-reported variables were found for objectively measured sitting (R2 = 0.559) and arm inclination > 60° (R2 = 0.420). Objective measurements over several days showed a higher reliability compared to single day measurements.
Questionnaires cannot provide an accurate description of mechanical exposures. Objective measurements over several days are recommended in occupations with varying tasks.
PMCID: PMC5029916  PMID: 27649499
2.  Heavy Physical Work: Cardiovascular Load in Male Construction Workers 
This study aimed to elucidate cardiovascular loads (CVL) in construction workers during work and leisure by relative heart rate (RHR) over several days. Furthermore, we sought to evaluate the level of CVL in relation to individual factors, work ability, musculoskeletal pain and subjective general health. From a group of 255 construction workers responding to the baseline questionnaire, the CVL during work and leisure time was determined by recording RHR in 42 workers over 3–4 days. Almost 60% of the workday was spent below 20% RHR. The mean RHR during work for all participants was 16% RHR, with large differences between professions. On average, the 42 workers spent 14% of the workday at a RHR above 33%, and four subjects (10%) had a mean RHR above 33% during work. Eight (19%) of the participants had a mean length of their workday exceeding calculated maximal acceptable work time. Seven persons (17%) experienced on average one or more episode(s) of 5 min or more continuously above 33% RHR. The cardiovascular load at work was significantly associated with age and V˙O2max, but not with work ability, musculoskeletal pain or subjective general health.
PMCID: PMC4847018  PMID: 27023574
construction work; general health; musculoskeletal pain; physical demands; work ability
3.  Multisite musculoskeletal pain among young technical school students entering working life 
There is a need to investigate the occurrence of multisite pain in young adults and to determine potential factors contributing to the early course of multisite musculoskeletal pain. The aim of this prospective study was to assess the occurrence and change of prevalence in the number of pain sites. We also wanted to identify work-related and individual risk factors associated with the number of musculoskeletal pain sites.
We monitored musculoskeletal pain from 4 body regions, individual and work-related factors on 21 occasions over a 6.5 year period. The cohort consisted of 420 technical school students entering working life. Data were analyzed by generalized estimating equations (GEE).
Pain from more than one body site was prevalent in this cohort of young adults (69 % at baseline), and the number of body sites in pain was found quite stable over the 6.5 year follow-up period. Women had higher number of pain sites compared with men and gender specific risk factors were identified. Increased mechanical workload and quantitative demands and low socioeconomic status were associated with increased number of musculoskeletal pain sites among women, while tobacco use was found as a risk factor among young men. Increased perceived muscle tension was the only factor significantly associated with increased number of pain sites in both genders.
The current study supports earlier findings and show that pain from multiple body sites are frequent also among young workers. The identification of gender specific risk factors in our study is important and may facilitate practical prevention and future research.
PMCID: PMC4754996  PMID: 26879595
Musculoskeletal disorders; Multisite pain; Young workers; Adolescents; Work-related factors; Longitudinal
4.  Musculoskeletal health and work ability in physically demanding occupations: study protocol for a prospective field study on construction and health care workers 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:1075.
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 on physical exposures, technical measurements will be collected from two subgroups of N = 300 (Group A) and N = 160 (Group B) during work and leisure. Both group A and B will be given a physical health examination, be tested for physical capacity and physical activity will be measured for four days. Additionally, muscle activity, ground reaction force, body positions and physical activity will be examined during one workday for Group B. Analysis of associations between objectively measured exposure data and the outcomes described above will be done separately for these subpopulations.
The field study will at baseline produce objectively measured data on physical demands in the construction and health care occupations. In combination with clinical measurements and questionnaire data during follow-up, this will provide a solid foundation to prospectively investigate relationships between physical demands at work and development of musculoskeletal disorders, work ability and sickness absence.
PMCID: PMC4203897  PMID: 25318646
Physical exposures; Work ability; Musculoskeletal disorders; Accelerometer; Heart rate monitoring; Electromyography; Ground reaction force
5.  Computer work and musculoskeletal disorders of the neck and upper extremity: A systematic review 
This review examines the evidence for an association between computer work and neck and upper extremity disorders (except carpal tunnel syndrome).
A systematic critical review of studies of computer work and musculoskeletal disorders verified by a physical examination was performed.
A total of 22 studies (26 articles) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Results show limited evidence for a causal relationship between computer work per se, computer mouse and keyboard time related to a diagnosis of wrist tendonitis, and for an association between computer mouse time and forearm disorders. Limited evidence was also found for a causal relationship between computer work per se and computer mouse time related to tension neck syndrome, but the evidence for keyboard time was insufficient. Insufficient evidence was found for an association between other musculoskeletal diagnoses of the neck and upper extremities, including shoulder tendonitis and epicondylitis, and any aspect of computer work.
There is limited epidemiological evidence for an association between aspects of computer work and some of the clinical diagnoses studied. None of the evidence was considered as moderate or strong and there is a need for more and better documentation.
PMCID: PMC2874766  PMID: 20429925

Results 1-5 (5)