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Papers of the Week

2023 Jan 06

Int J Environ Res Public Health



Characteristics of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Korea.


Kee D
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Jan 06; 20(2).
PMID: 36673780.


This study aimed to analyze trends for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) from 1996 to 2020 in Korea and to investigate characteristics of WMSDs, including WMSD approval rates, distribution by WMSD names, and the effects of industry type and size, and workers' age and gender on WMSD occurrence. The data included those obtained from the official yearbooks for industrial accidents published by the Ministry of Employment and Labor and those obtained personally from the Korea Workers' Compensation & Welfare Service. The results showed that although the incidence of WMSDs differed by year, approximately 9500 cases of WMSDs occurred in 2019 and 2020, the incidence rate of WMSDs was approximately 5.0 per 10,000 workers, and the proportions of WMSDs among industrial accidents were almost 9%. Low back pain was the leading cause of WMSDs; WMSDs occupied 9.5-71.5% of total occupational diseases by year and occurred most frequently in the manufacturing industry, followed by construction, transportation/warehouse and communication, and mining industries, and nearly 60% of WMSDs occurred in small business with <50 workers. Among chronic WMSDs, rotator cuff syndrome in the shoulder ranked first, intervertebral disc disorders second, and rotator cuff and tendon injuries third. By body parts, the shoulder was most susceptible to chronic WMSDs, followed by the low back, leg, and elbow/lower arm. The chi-square test and logistic regression analysis showed that industry type and size and workers' gender and age were significantly associated with WMSD approval. It can be concluded that the WMSD preventive efforts should focus on low back pain and rotator cuff syndrome by WMSD name, manufacturing by industry, small business by industry size, men by gender, and aged workers by age.