Temporal patterns of discomfort reported by plasterers over a five-day workweek
Occupational Ergonomics and Safety, Part 2
BACKGROUND: Plastering activities can involve exposure to Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorder (WRMSD) risk factors that are an intrinsic part of a plasterer's daily work. Exposure can be assessed by recording perceptions of symptoms of discomfort during work. OBJECTIVE: To record a sample of plasterers' self-reported perceptions of discomfort to identify temporal patterns and to investigate whether work-break patterns and some task demands influence the intensity levels of their discomfort. METHODS: Eighteen experienced plasterers indicated their level of perceived discomfort for 10 body-parts four times a day for five consecutive workdays using a Body Part Discomfort Survey (BPDS) containing a body map, Visual Analogue Discomfort Scales (VADS) and questionnaires to provide information about their working activities over the duration of the assessment. RESULTS: Plasterers experienced discomfort in all body parts assessed with symptoms increasing over the working day and week and declining after periods of rest i.e. after lunch and overnight. Task activities and standing platforms used influenced the patterns of discomfort intensity. CONCLUSIONS: Plasterers in this group experience greater physical strain with infrequent work/break patterns, or when carrying out the same activity or using a single standing platform for prolonged periods.