Author(s): Bio F, Sadhra S, Jackson C, Burge P
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Abstract SUMMARY BACKGROUND: Biomechanical lumbo-spinal strain and intense physical work are the characteristic hallmarks of mining work. OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and predisposing factors for Low Back Pain (LBP) among male underground gold miners at the Obuasi gold mine in Ghana. METHODS: This is a cross sectional study on 280 male underground gold miners from June to October 2001 with a structured questionnaire administered through interviews. RESULTS: The twelve months prevalence of low back pain among miners was 67\%. The mean age of the workers was 40 years (+/- 5.6, ranging from 27 to 53 years). Increasing age was significantly associated with low back pain, (P=0.05) OR 2.07 (95\% CI 0.99 to 4.34) after adjustment for smoking and occupation. Prevalence of LBP was highest among workers performing engineering (82\%) duties. Heavy physical work (77\%), was identified as a major cause of LBP, which could be prevented by the use of lifting aids (16\%). CONCLUSION: The prevalence of low back pain in this group is comparable with that obtained from other studies in Africa and Europe. Training and education as a means of reducing LBP was suggested by just a few of the respondents.
This article was published in Ghana Med J
and referenced in Journal of Ergonomics