BACKGROUND: Back pain has been identified as a common cause of disability in the working population. Automotive mechanics habitually use awkward back posture in their course of manual activity and hence may be at risk of work-related back pain.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the prevalence, pattern and severity of back pain among automotive maintenance mechanics, as well as the personal and job variables associated with or predicting occurrence of back pain.
METHOD: Using a cross-sectional design, information about self-reported back pain and the associated variables were collected among 684 randomly recruited automotive mechanics.
RESULT: Prevalence of back pain was 76.02%; with the majority experiencing low back pain. 63.3% of the workers reported they limited their activity due to the back pain. Older workers (>50 years), daily work lasting ≥5 hours duration, no more than primary education, being normal weight, frequent use of kneeling and sustained postures, and lack of knowledge of ergonomic postures were associated with increased prevalence of back pain. Lack of job autonomy, inadequate task clarity, heavy physical work load, manual material handling, strenuous posture, noisy environment, vibrations, work schedule and inadequate auxiliary support were also associated with increased prevalence of back pain among the mechanics.
CONCLUSION: Work-related back pain is prevalent among automotive maintenance mechanics. Work-related back pain is high among automotive maintenance mechanics. Workstation policy and legislation on reduction of risks with combined health literacy and ergonomic education programs in this occupational group are imperative.
- musculoskeletal risk
- back pain
- manual handling
- automobile servicing and repair