Prevalence of Musculoskeletal Disorder among Workers in Taiwan: A Nationwide Study

How Ran Guo, Ya Ching Chang, Wen Yu Yeh, Chun Wan Chen, Yueliang L. Guo

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98 Citations (Scopus)


Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) is a common problem among workers. In spite of the numerous reports on MSD in various specific groups of workers, few data on the prevalence in the general working population are available except for back pain. We analyzed the information collected through a nationwide survey in Taiwan in 1994 to estimate the prevalence of MSD by age, gender, and education level and identify high-risk industries. In the survey, a standard questionnaire was distributed to a representative sample of 22,475 non-self-employed workers in Taiwan. National estimates were obtained by applying a weight to each participant. Among the sampled workers, 18,942 (84.3%) participated, and 37.0% (standard error=0.4%) had MSD. Female workers had a significantly higher overall prevalence than male workers (39.5% vs. 35.2%, p×0.05). Education and age also had significant associations with MSD (p×0.001 in both genders). "Lower back and waist" were the most frequently affected body parts (18.3% among males and 19.7% among females), but the prevalence of MSDs of the neck, shoulders, hands and wrists were also above 10%. The top ten high-risk major industries for MSD of various body parts for each gender were identified, and some industries, including "Basic Metal Industries" and "Buildings Construction," were among the top ten for multiple body parts. Our study showed that MSDs of body parts other than the back are also prevalent, especially in the neck, shoulders, hands and wrists. We also identified high-risk industries for further research and intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-36
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Occupational Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jan

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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