Prevalence and Risk Factors of Musculoskeletal Pain among Construction Industry Workers in a Low-Income Country

Natasha Shaukat, Zafar Fatmi


Musculoskeletal pain (MSP) is one of the major causes of disability around the world. We ought to determine the prevalence and risk factors of MSP among construction workers in Karachi, Pakistan.
We carried out a cross-sectional study among 321 construction workers from five registered construction companies in Karachi, Pakistan. We administered an Extended Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ-E) to determine the frequency of MSP and inquired about socio-demographic characteristics, occupational and ergonomic risk factors, knowledge and practices regarding MSP. Age-adjusted logistic regression analysis was carried out to identify factors that were associated with MSP.
The mean age of participants was 29.6 (±10.6) years. Low back pain was the most common (27.8%) complaint. The MSP risk was higher in the poorest strata [OR= 1.85, 95% CI:1.10-3.12], and those exposed to vibrations [OR=1.63, 95%CI: 1.05-2.54] during their work activities. Moreover, the unmarried [OR= 0.56, 95%CI: 0.35-0.91] and the workers of Punjabi ethnicity [OR=0.46, 95% CI: 0.27-0.76] were at a lower risk of MSP compared to married men and Sindhi workers. Of the 319 workers, the majority [202 (62.9%)] had low knowledge about occupational hazards, and [194 (60.4%)] health hazards, [131(40.8%)] MSP prevention strategies. More than one third [124(38.6)] workers, were not using personal protective equipment (PPEs) during work.
The construction workers in Pakistan suffer from a very high prevalence of MSP. The study reports MSP from five major registered construction companies in Pakistan. The young group of workers reported difficulty working due to MSP. There is a dire need to design contextualized occupational health and safety policies and interventions with a focus on workers at higher risk of MSP.


Musculoskeletal Pain; Ergonomics; Construction Industry; Prevalence; Developing Country

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Iranian Journal of Health, Safety and Environment e-ISSN: :2345-5535 Iran university of Medical sciences, Tehran, Iran