Working in temporary employment and exposure to musculoskeletal constraints

Publié le 1 Octobre 2012
Mis à jour le 5 juillet 2019

Background. In recent years, temporary work (TW) has increased in European countries due to the greater uncertainty in the economy. Aims. To compare the prevalence of non-specific musculoskeletal symptoms of the upper extremities (UEMSDs) and their main risk factors in blue-collar workers employed through temporary agencies (TW) and in those in permanent employment (PE). Methods. UEMSDs occurring during the preceding 7 days were assessed using a Nordic questionnaire completed by 1493 blue-collar workers randomly included in a surveillance programme for UEMSDs (171 in TW and 1322 in PE) in a large French region. Personal factors and work-related risk factors for UEMSDs were assessed by self-administered questionnaires. Results. The prevalence of UEMSDs during the preceding 7 days did not significantly differ between workers in TW or PE, except for symptoms of the wrist/hand region [prevalence 20%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 14-26 versus 15%, 95% CI 13-17, P < 0.05]. TW was characterized by higher exposure to paced work (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.4-3.0), repetitive work (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.6-3.4), awkward postures of the wrist (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.2-2.4) and intensive use of vibrating hand tools (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.1-2.3). Workers in TW suffered from a lack of autonomy (OR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.7-3.6) and skill discretion at work (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.3-3.1) more frequently, but there was no difference in relation to psychological demands of the task or social support. Conclusions. Temporary workers were more frequently exposed to working time constraints, repetitive work and biomechanical constraints of the wrist/hand region when compared to permanent workers and may represent a subpopulation at particularly high risk of UEMSDs.

Auteur : Roquelaure Y, Petit Le Manach A, Ha C, Poisnel C, Bodin J, Descatha A, Imbernon E
Occupational medicine, 2012, vol. 62, n°. 7, p. 514-8