Article Text

Download PDFPDF
A participatory approach to the study of lifting demands and musculoskeletal symptoms among Hong Kong workers
  1. S Yeung1,
  2. A Genaidy2,
  3. J Deddens3,
  4. C Shoaf2,
  5. P C Leung4
  1. 1Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
  2. 2Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Program, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0072, USA
  3. 3Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA
  4. 4Department of Orthopaedic and Traumatology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  1. Correspondence to:
 Associate Professor S S Yeung
 Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong;


Aims: To investigate the use of a worker based methodology to assess the physical stresses of lifting tasks on effort expended, and to associate this loading with musculoskeletal outcomes (MO).

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted on 217 male manual handling workers from the Hong Kong area. The effects of four lifting variables (weight of load, horizontal distance, twisting angle, and vertical travel distance) on effort were examined using a linguistic approach (that is, characterising variables in descriptors such as “heavy” for weight of load). The numerical interpretations of linguistic descriptors were established. In addition, the associations between on the job effort and MO were investigated for 10 body regions including the spine, and both upper and lower extremities.

Results: MO were prevalent in multiple body regions (range 12–58%); effort was significantly associated with MO in 8 of 10 body regions (odds ratios with age adjusted ranged from 1.31 for low back to 1.71 for elbows and forearm). The lifting task variables had significant effects on effort, with the weight of load having twice the effect of other variables; each linguistic descriptor was better described by a range of numerical values rather than a single numerical value.

Conclusions: The participatory worker based approach on musculoskeletal outcomes is a promising methodology. Further testing of this approach is recommended.

  • LBP, low back pain
  • MO, musculoskeletal outcomes

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.