Work compatibility and musculoskeletal disorders in the construction industry

Osama Salem, Tarek M. Sobeih, Ash Genaidy, Richard Shell, Amit Bhattacharya, Paul Succop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to measure the work compatibility of the different work-related variables (physical and psychosocial) using the Demand-Energizer Instrument (DEI) and to determine their association with both musculoskeletal disorders and stress symptoms. In recent years, there has been increasing evidence that psychosocial factors play an important role in the development of musculoskeletal disorders. The study group consisted of 147 active construction workers. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire. The association between the exposure variables (work energizers and work compatibility) and outcome variables was determined using a multivariate logistic regression model with backward elimination of insignificant variables. There was a significantly high correlation between the demand and energizer aspects of the different work-related variables. Three variables were positively associated with musculoskeletal/stress symptoms (protective effect), seven were negatively associated (hazardous effect), and two demonstrated both effects. When both demands and energizers were combined, the highest work compatibility was achieved in individual growth, economic, and social variables. The results of a factor analysis indicated that four work compatibility variables (work environment, physical task, performance, and job satisfaction) were significantly associated with musculoskeletal/stress symptoms. In the complex web of the human-at-work system, the work compatibility model significantly identified those work-related variables that were associated with musculoskeletal/stress symptoms. Psychosocial factors play a significant role in the construction industry. A possible application of this research can be the use of the new tool in identifying priority areas for future intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-252
Number of pages23
JournalHuman Factors and Ergonomics In Manufacturing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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