Author(s): Dovrat E, KatzLeurer M
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Abstract BACKGROUND: In recent years the demand for frozen food in the Western world has been growing, and the number of cold storeroom has increased proportionately. There are very few studies documenting cold exposure as a risk factor for musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS). This study describes the prevalence of MSS, in particular low back pain (LBP) among cold storeroom workers in Israel and explores the connection between exposure to cold at work and MSS. METHODS: A cross-section survey included 122 males between the ages of 20-45 who had been employed for at least 1 year in three food stores in Israel. The subjects were classified as an exposed group working at temperatures of -20 degrees C and a control group working at room temperatures (20 degrees C to 25 degrees C). The prevalence rate of MSS, in particular LBP, was assessed using the Standardized Nordic Questionnaire. RESULTS: Cold storeroom workers had increased odds of reporting back symptoms in the previous 12 months (odds ratio (OR) = 2.9, 95\% CI = 1.3-6.7) and during work (OR = 4.8, 95\% CI = 1.8-13.0) compared with their colleagues working in storerooms at regular temperatures. Among workers who described themselves as satisfied at work, the cold storeroom workers had increased odds of reporting back symptoms in the last 12 months and during work (OR = 3.9, 95\% CI = 1.5-10.6, OR = 9.4, 95\% CI = 2.0-44.6, respectively) while there was no association between store type and LBP among dissatisfied workers. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study strengthen the hypothesis that workers in cold environments are at a greater risk of LBP.
This article was published in Am J Ind Med
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy