Musculoskeletal disorders are important causes of sick leave and disability among Norwegian offshore petroleum workers. More knowledge and interventions are needed in order to prevent this. In this review we consider prevalence and risk factors among offshore petroleum workers and point to the need for more research.
Literature searches on ISI Web of Science and PubMed were supplemented by reports from Norwegian offshore industry companies and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.
Few studies were found on musculoskeletal disorders among offshore petroleum workers. The disorders are widespread, particularly among catering, construction and drilling personnel. It is not clear whether the prevalence is different from that among onshore workers. Risk factors are physical stressors and fast pace of work. Among catering personnel, these disorders are important causes of loss of the required health certificate but we could not identify any review of causes in the offshore industry generally.
More scientific studies are needed on musculoskeletal disorders as comparisons of prevalence and risk factors for offshore and onshore workers may point to more effective interventions. Better knowledge of the causes of loss of the health certificate may contribute to preventing early retirement. Interventions to prevent these disorders should be evaluated by controlled intervention studies.