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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 798042, 11 pages
Research Article

Psychosocial Work Factors and Musculoskeletal Pain: A Cross-Sectional Study among Swedish Flight Baggage Handlers

1Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, University of Gävle, 801 76 Gävle, Sweden
2Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden

Received 16 January 2015; Revised 15 April 2015; Accepted 27 April 2015

Academic Editor: Sergio Iavicoli

Copyright © 2015 Eva L. Bergsten et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Flight baggage handlers sort and load luggage to airplanes. This study aimed at investigating associations between psychosocial exposures and low back and shoulder musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among Swedish flight baggage handlers. Methods. A questionnaire addressing MSDs (Standardized Nordic Questionnaire) and psychosocial factors (Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire, COPSOQ) was answered by 525 baggage handlers in six Swedish airports. Results. Low back (LBP) and shoulder pain (SP) were reported by 70% and 60%, respectively. Pain was reported to interfere with work (PIW) by 30% (low back) and 18% (shoulders), and intense pain (PINT) occurred in 34% and 28% of the population. Quality of leadership was the most dissatisfying psychosocial factor, while the most positive was social community at work. Low ratings in the combined domain Work organization and job content were significantly associated with PIW in both low back and shoulders (Adjusted Hazard Ratios 3.65 (95% CI 1.67–7.99) and 2.68 (1.09–6.61)) while lower ratings in the domain Interpersonal relations and leadership were associated with PIW LBP (HR 2.18 (1.06–4.49)) and PINT LBP and SP (HRs 1.95 (1.05–3.65) and 2.11 (1.08–4.12)). Conclusion. Severity of pain among flight baggage handlers was associated with psychosocial factors at work, suggesting that they may be a relevant target for intervention in this occupation.