To evaluate a method for collecting data concerning low back pain (LBP) using daily text messages and to characterize the reported LBP in terms of intensity, variability, and episodes.
We conducted a cohort study of LBP among workers used by a mining company. The participants were asked to answer the question "How much pain have you had in your lower back in the last 24 hours on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 = no pain and 10 = the worst pain imaginable" once a day for 5 weeks, with this process being repeated 6 months later.
A total of 121 workers participated in the first period of data collection, and 108 participated in the second period. The daily response rate was 93% for both periods, and cluster analysis was shown to be a feasible statistical method for clustering LBP into subgroups of low, medium, and high pain. The daily text messages method also worked well for assessing the episodic nature of LBP.
We have demonstrated a method for repeatedly measuring of LBP using daily text messages. The data permitted clustering into subgroups and could be used to define episodes of LBP.
This cross-sectional questionnaire study was carried out at 4 open-pit mines in Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden as part of the MineHealth project. The aim has been to compare the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms between drivers of mining vehicles and non-drivers.
The mine workers were asked whether they had suffered from any musculoskeletal symptoms during the previous 12 months in specified body regions, and to grade the severity of these symptoms during the past month. They were also asked about their daily driving of mining vehicles.
The questionnaire was completed by 1323 workers (757 vehicle drivers) and the reported prevalence and severity of symptoms were highest for the lower back, followed by pain in the neck, shoulder and upper back. Drivers in the Nordic mines reported fewer symptoms than non-drivers, while for Russian mine workers the results were the opposite of that. The daily driving of mining vehicles had no significant association with the risk of symptoms. Female drivers indicated a higher prevalence of symptoms as compared to male drivers.
The study provided only weak support for the hypothesis that drivers of vehicles reported a higher prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms than non-vehicle drivers. There were marked differences in the prevalence of symptoms among workers in various enterprises, even though the nature of the job tasks was similar. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2017;30(4):553-564.
Historically, working in iron-ore mines has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer and silicosis. However, studies on other causes of mortality are inconsistent and in the case of cancer incidence, sparse. The aim of this study was to examine the association between iron-ore mining, mortality and cancer incidence.
A 54-year cohort study on iron-ore miners from mines in northern Sweden was carried out comprising 13,000 workers. Standardized rate ratios were calculated comparing the disease frequency, mortality, and cancer incidence with that of the general population of northern Sweden. Poisson regression was used to evaluate the association between the durations of employment and underground work, and outcome.
Underground mining was associated with a significant decrease in adjusted mortality rate ratios for cerebrovascular and digestive system diseases, and stroke. For several outcomes, elevated standardized rate ratios were observed among blue-collar workers relative to the reference population. However, only the incidence of lung cancer increased with employment time underground (P
Workers in the Arctic open-pit mines are exposed to harsh weather conditions. Employers are required to provide protective clothing for workers. This can be the outer layer, but sometimes also inner or middle layers are provided. This study aimed to determine how Arctic open-pit miners protect themselves against cold and the sufficiency, and the selection criteria of the garments. Workers' cold experiences and the clothing in four Arctic open-pit mines in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia were evaluated by a questionnaire (n=1,323). Basic thermal insulation (Icl) of the reported clothing was estimated (ISO 9920). The Icl of clothing from the mines were also measured by thermal manikin (standing/walking) in 0.3 and 4.0 m/s wind. The questionnaire showed that the Icl of the selected clothing was on average 1.2 and 1.5 clo in mild (-5 to +5°C) and dry cold (-20 to -10°C) conditions, respectively. The Icl of the clothing measured by thermal manikin was 1.9-2.3 clo. The results show that the Arctic open-pit miners' selected their clothing based on occupational (time outdoors), environmental (temperature, wind, moisture) and individual factors (cold sensitivity, general health). However, the selected clothing was not sufficient to prevent cooling completely at ambient temperatures below -10°C.