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Work-related upper limbs musculoskeletal disorder risk evaluation strategy in a Portuguese meatpacking plant

Florentino Serranheira António de Sousa Uva Jorge Espírito-Santo About the authors

BACKGROUND: Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSD) are common occupational diseases. The present study aims at examining an integrated perspective of risk assessment and health surveillance at a meatpacking plant. METHODS: The strategy adopted was of obtaining information about WRMSDs awareness at all workstations and from all their workers. This was based on: (i) questionnaire application - an adaptation of the Nordic musculoskeletal questionnaire, including a biomechanical item, (ii) WRMSDs clinical protocol (iii) RSI risk filter and Strain Index application, (iv) instrumentation with electrogoniometry and force sensors at previously classified as high risk workstations. RESULTS: WRMSDs signs and symptoms mainly in wrist/hands (n=27) and in lumbar region (n=32) were identified. Results revealed an important prevalence of WRULMSDs associated to meatpacking industry activities (30%) and high risk scores based on Strain Index (n=26 Right UL; n=7 Left UL). Instrumentation showed details of recurrency, of postures and of force, which can be used for intervention. CONCLUSIONS: It's necessary to develop ergonomic strategies and approaches on WRMSDs prevention (risk assessment and management) that will lead to changes on workstations and working processes.

Occupational Health; Ergonomics; Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WRMSD); Meatpacking; Occupational Risk Assessment and Management

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