Musculoskeletal disorders in relation to age and occupation in Swedish construction workers

Am J Ind Med. 2003 Oct;44(4):377-84. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10281.


Background: Physical exposure load varies between trades in the construction industry. Our hypothesis is that the prevalence of MSD in a trade, reflects the level of physical exposure; the aim of the study was to describe MSD in relation to age and occupation within the industry.

Methods: The study is based on data from self-administered questionnaires filled out by 85,191 males in the Swedish construction industry.

Results: Construction workers had higher age-adjusted prevalence of MSD than foremen and office workers. In general prevalence rates increased steadily with age. Scaffolders showed the highest prevalence of MSD in all body locations. Elevated prevalence of neck disorders was found in crane operators, insulators, and painters, and of lower back and lower extremity disorders in roofers and floorers.

Conclusion: MSD increase with age. The variation between trades of MSD prevalence seems to correspond to the variation with respect to physical exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Industry / classification
  • Industry / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupations / classification*
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology