Musculoskeletal symptoms and exposure to whole-body vibration among open-pit mine workers in the arctic
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInternational Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health. 2017, 30 (4), . 10.13075/ijomeh.1896.00975
Objectives: This cross-sectional questionnaire study was carried out at 4 open-pit mines in Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden as part of the MineHealth project. The aim has been to compare the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms between drivers of mining vehicles and non-drivers. Material and Methods: The mine workers were asked whether they had suffered from any musculoskeletal symptoms during the previous 12 months in specified body regions, and to grade the severity of these symptoms during the past month. They were also asked about their daily driving of mining vehicles. Results: The questionnaire was completed by 1323 workers (757 vehicle drivers) and the reported prevalence and severity of symptoms were highest for the lower back, followed by pain in the neck, shoulder and upper back. Drivers in the Nordic mines reported fewer symptoms than non-drivers, while for Russian mine workers the results were the opposite of that. The daily driving of mining vehicles had no significant association with the risk of symptoms. Female drivers indicated a higher prevalence of symptoms as compared to male drivers. Conclusions: The study provided only weak support for the hypothesis that drivers of vehicles reported a higher prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms than non-vehicle drivers. There were marked differences in the prevalence of symptoms among workers in various enterprises, even though the nature of the job tasks was similar.