Psychosocial factors and musculoskeletal disorders in the construction industry

Tarek Sobeih, Ossama Salem, Ash Genaidy, Tariq Abdelhamid, Richard Shell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) constitute more than half of the total injuries and illnesses within the construction industry. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of MSD among construction workers and identify the psychosocial and physical risk factors associated with their occurrence using an on-site survey instrument. One hundred forty seven construction workers (representing three trades) participated in the study. The 1-year prevalence of MSD was high with 61.2% reporting severe symptoms and 39.7% having some functional impairment due to MSD. Physical task requirement was the most important factor associated with MSD reflecting the physical nature of construction work. Economic and performance factors were the most stressful psychosocial factors reported and significantly increased the risk of reporting MSD. The findings of this research underscore the independent role that psychosocial factors play in the health and safety of construction workers. Understanding this role is imperative for practitioners and academics alike in the quest to make construction a safer work environment for all workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-277
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Accident prevention
  • Construction industry
  • Injuries
  • Occupational health
  • Occupational safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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