Track: Environmental Health and Risk Management
David Rempel, MD, MPH, FACOEM*, University of California San Francisco, Richmond, CA
Bradley A. Evanoff, MD, MPH, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
Fred Gerr, MD, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Robert L. Goldberg, MD, FACOEM, FFOEM RCPI (Hon)*, University of California San Francisco, Richmond, CA
Kurt T. Hegmann, MD, MPH, FACOEM*, University of Utah RMCOEH, Salt Lake City, UT
Seven large prospective epidemiologic field studies were completed recently to estimate, with adequate statistical power, exposure-effect relationships between biomechanical risk factors (including force and repetition), personal, and psychosocial measures and the prevalence and incidence of specific upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders. Detailed workplace and personal data were collected for 2909 full-time employees from 27 US companies and participants were followed for up to three years with repeated physical examinations for new musculoskeletal disorders. A priori criteria were set for 12 specific disorders including carpal tunnel syndrome, epicondylitis, and tenosynovitis. The industrial sectors represented are primarily from production (food, ore) and manufacturing (furniture, appliances, construction materials). Data from the studies are being pooled to examine associations between workplace physical risk factors and upper limb musculoskeletal disorders. Prevalence and incidence rates of specific disorders from four of the studies will be presented along with initial exposure-effect relationships between biomechanical factors and specific disorders.