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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 77

Risk factors for musculoskeletal problems in paddy field workers in northern iran: A community-based study

1 Department of Economics, Agricultural Extension and Education, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Ilam Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ilam, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Alireza Poursaeed
Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Ilam Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ilam
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jrms.jrms_1024_21

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Background: Paddy cultivation of rice requires substantial physical strength, perseverance and manual labor. During the manual harvesting of paddy rice in Iran, laborers are exposed to several work-related physical risks. Paddy cultivation has been reported as one of the most important causes of nonfatal occupational injuries and accidents among farmers. With the aim of identifying which parts of the musculoskeletal structure are mostly affected as a result of working on paddy rice fields, the present study aimed to investigate the potential risk factors for musculoskeletal problems in paddy field workers in Mazandaran Province, Iran. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional, analytical study was conducted among paddy field workers via multistage sampling in 2019. Prior to the interviews based on the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire, the participants were briefed about the objectives of the research and their consent was obtained for voluntary participation. Through interviews, data were collected on demographics, agricultural utilization systems, use of paddy tractors, frequency of tiller and tractor use, injuries sustained during the daytime, and outcomes of injuries by paddy field working. Responses were obtained from 384 workers using structured interviews. The respondents were asked to describe problems and pain in their neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands, upper back, hip and lower back. Logistic regression models were used to identify potential risk factors for musculoskeletal problems in specific body regions. Results: The most commonly reported ailments were back pain (n = 29; 7.6%), cardiovascular disease (n = 25, 6.5%) and hypertension (n = 22, 5.7%). The results of logistic regression analysis indicated that the odds of back and shoulder injuries was higher among workers who used tillers and combine harvesters (2.85 and 1.66), transplanting machine (3.68), and those who did not use safe footwear (7). Knee injury risk was higher among those who cultivated rice manually (odds ratio [OR] = 1.35) and who used safety footwear (OR = 1.93), but was lower among those who used tractors (OR = 0.53). There was a small increase in the risk of knee injury with age (OR = 1.03). Confirming earlier works, musculoskeletal problems were found to be highly prevalent among rice workers. Conclusion: Disorders in certain body regions could be explained by specific individual and work-related factors. While the prevalence of work-related injury was high, mostly due to ignorance and disregard for personal convenience of the workers, the findings call for improvements in mechanization and division of labor time and force. Another highlight is that social worth is not given sufficiently to the health of paddy field workers. These should be worked on in future research to find ways of allocating machinery and worth to the workers.

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