Background Garments industry is flourishing in many developing countries. Attention is often not paid to ergonomics. It is plausible that the prevalence of musculoskeletal (MSK) pain may be high among garments workers.
Objectives To estimate the prevalence of symptoms and disorders (MSD) among garment workers in Bangladesh.
Methods This cross sectional study was carried out among 350 workers in two garment factories by face-to-face interview. The COPCORD (Community Oriented Program for Control of Rheumatic Disorders) methodology was adopted for the survey.The workers were classified into cutting, sewing, finishing and quality control operators. Trained interviewers identified subjects with musculoskeletal pain. Trained internists and rheumatologists examined the positive respondents.
Results The point prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was 61.71%. The parts commonly affected during the preceding 7 days of interview in the whole group were shoulder (17.9%), lower back (15.2%), neck (13.8%) and knee (10.8%). The cutting operators suffered more from back (15.4%), neck (15.4%) and lower limb (11.5%); sewing operators from lower limb (12.4%), back (8.5%) and upper limb (7.7%); finishing operators from lower limb (50%) and quality control group from back pain (50%). Multiple regional pains were more frequent (n=155) among all operators.The sewing and cutting operators suffered from multiple regional pains more than other operators.The prevalence of Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) 0.9%, spondyloarthropathy (SpA) 1.42%, undifferentiated arthritis (UA) 1.1%, nonspecific low back pain (NSLBP) 4.6%, soft tissue rheumatism (STR) 3.7%, osteoarthritis (OA) 0.9% and lumbarspondylosis 1.1%.Nonspecific pain was the commonest condition (63.71%).
Conclusions Rheumatic disorders are common causes of morbidity, disability, and work loss among the garment workers of Bangladesh where male and female workers are almost equally affected. Multiple regional involvementsare common in this occupational group. Mechanical disorders are the commonest.
Disclosure of Interest None declared