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Keywords:

  • musculoskeletal symptoms;
  • poultry processing;
  • upper extremity disorders;
  • immigrant workers;
  • occupational health and safety;
  • work-related

Abstract

Background

Upper body musculoskeletal injuries are often attributed to rapid work pace and repetitive motions. These job features are common in poultry processing, an industry that relies on Latino immigrants. Few studies document the symptom burden of immigrant Latinos employed in poultry processing or other manual jobs.

Methods

Latino poultry processing workers (n = 403) and a comparison population of 339 Latino manual workers reported symptoms for six upper body sites during interviews. We tabulated symptoms and explored factors associated with symptom counts.

Results

Back symptoms and wrist/hand symptoms lasting more than 1-day were reported by over 35% of workers. Poultry processing workers reported more symptoms than comparison workers, especially wrist and elbow symptoms. The number of sites at which workers reported symptoms was elevated for overtime workers and workers who spoke an indigenous language during childhood.

Conclusion

Workplace conditions facing poultry processing and indigenous language speaking workers deserve further exploration. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:197–205, 2013. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.