Publication date: Sep 25, 2023
This study aimed to investigate changes in physical work demands in association with self-rated health and musculoskeletal symptoms. Data from five waves over the period 2019-2021 of the Netherlands Working Conditions Survey COVID-19 were available for 7191 participants aged 19-64 years who worked (partly) on-site during at least two consecutive waves. Logistic generalized estimated equations (GEE) were used to estimate the odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) for changes (increase or decrease compared to no change) in physical work demands between two waves and poor self-rated health and musculoskeletal symptoms in the following wave, adjusted for the health outcome at the first wave, age, educational level, working hours and hours worked from home. In females, a statistically significant association was found between an increase in physical work demands compared to no change and musculoskeletal symptoms (OR 1. 39, 95% CI 1. 17-1. 65). A decrease in physical work demands in females was not statistically significantly associated with musculoskeletal symptoms (OR 0. 93, 95% CI 0. 80-1. 08). Similar trends were found for poor self-rated health, although non-statistically significant. For males, comparable but attenuated associations were found. While our study showed that increasing physical work demands are associated with adverse health (self-reported and musculoskeletal), it did not appear to benefit worker’s health to reduce work demands. Future research with multiple measurements in a shorter period and additionally using devices to measure physical work demands will be needed to confirm our study results.
|Workers||Occupational physical activity|