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Work-related musculoskeletal disorders: A case study among male molasses workers in Nadia district of West Bengal, India

Gourab Biswas, Arkajit Bhattacharya, Rina Bhattacharya.


Background: Molasses making is one of the most agro-based sectors in India where about 4.50 core rural people are involved in the sugarcane cultivation and 5 lakh are directly engaged in the small-scale industries. The workers are prone to different health problems, but the effect has rarely been evaluated.

Objectives: The aim of this study is to identify the musculoskeletal disorders of the molasses making workers and its association with age, experience, education, and addiction to smoking and alcohol.

Materials and Methods: Working postures are analyzed by Ovako Working Posture Analysis System method. A modified Nordic questionnaire is used to survey the workersÂ’ work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), job details, and socioeconomic status. Statistical tests, namely, mean, standard deviation, odds ratio (OR), and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) are computed to analyze the data.

Results: Due to poor working postures, a large number of workers are suffering from lower back and shoulder pain. Strong associations are observed between upper back pain with the age group of 31-45 years (OR 2.03, 95% CI [0.84, 4.91]) and illiterate (OR 2.06, 95% CI [0.90, 4.71]) workers. High ORs for musculoskeletal disorders are found among experienced and non-addicted workers.

Conclusions: Definite pattern of risk factors can be obtained by including workplace stress and strain in the study. Awareness and educational campaign about the wrong working postures and WMSDs will help to reduce the risk factors.

Key words: Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders; Molasses Workers; Ovako Working Posture Analysis System, Odd Ratio

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