Prevalence of low back symptoms and its consequences in relation to occupational group

Authors

  • Baiduri Widanarko MOHS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Occupational Health and Safety, Faculty of Public Health, University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia
    • Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health, School of Management, College of Business, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
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    • Permanent address from October 2012: Department of Occupational Health and Safety, Faculty of Public Health, University of Indonesia, Depok 16424, Indonesia.
  • Stephen Legg PhD,

    1. Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health, School of Management, College of Business, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
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  • Mark Stevenson PhD,

    1. EpiCentre, Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biological Sciences, College of Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
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  • Jason Devereux PhD,

    1. Business Psychology Unit, University College London, London, UK
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  • Geoff Jones PhD

    1. Institute of Fundamental Sciences, College of Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.

Correspondence to: Baiduri Widanarko, MOHS, Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health, School of Management, College of Business, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand. E-mail: baiduri@ui.ac.id; b.widanarko@massey.ac.nz

Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to examine: (1) the prevalence of low back symptoms (LBS) and its consequences (reduced activities and absenteeism); (2) the association between occupational group and LBS; and (3) the association between LBS and its consequences.

Methods

A self-administered questionnaire was used to determine the prevalence of LBS in 1,294 Indonesian coal mining workers. A Cox proportional hazards model was developed to quantify the 12-monthly hazard of LBS. Logistic regression models were developed to identify risk factors for reduced activity and absenteeism from the workplace.

Results

The 12-month period prevalence for LBS, reduced activities, and absenteeism were 75%, 16%, and 13%, respectively. The 12-monthly hazard of LBS for blue-collar workers was 1.85 (95% CI: 1.06–3.25) times that of white-collar workers. LBS and smoking increased the risk of reduced activity and absenteeism.

Conclusions

Indonesian coal mining workers have a high prevalence of LBS. The findings imply that efforts to reduce LBS and in the workplace should focus on blue-collar workers. For smokers who report reduced activities and/or absenteeism, there should be a focus on rehabilitation and/or return-to-work programs. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:576–589, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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