Prevalence and Factors Associated with Musculoskeletal Disorders among Thai Hospital Orderlies

  • WITHAYA CHANCHAI College of Public Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
  • WANPEN SONGKHAM Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
  • PRANOM KETSOMPORN Department of Patient transfer service, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700, Thailand
  • PUNNARAT SAPPAKITCHANCHAI Department of Patient transfer service, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700, Thailand
  • WATTASIT SIRIWONG College of Public Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Musculoskeletal disorders, Risk factors, Hospital orderlies




Musculoskeletal problems, resulting from lifting and transferring patients, are often reported among hospital orderlies worldwide. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence and factors associated with musculoskeletal disorders in Thai hospital orderlies. This cross sectional study was conducted in a government tertiary care hospital (2,221-bed hospital) in Bangkok, Thailand. Data were collected over three months between April and May 2014.  The self-administered questionnaires were distributed to 189 hospital orderlies. Finally, 153 hospital orderlies that met the criteria participated in the study. The results revealed that the prevalence rate of musculoskeletal disorders among hospital orderlies was 84.3%.  Musculoskeletal disorders were present in various body parts with the lower back being reported most often (74.4%), followed by hips/thighs (72.1%), and upper back (60.5%). Factors affecting causality of musculoskeletal disorders were years of employment (OR 3.9, 95% CI 0.04-0.77), repetitive movement (OR 2.7, 95% CI 0.02-0.68), heavy load handling (OR 1.2, 95% CI 0.28-2.43), and tasks that required handling patients over 30 round per day (OR 3.3, 95% CI 0.02-0.64). Findings indicate that hospital orderlies should recognize the importance of enhancing musculoskeletal health, particularly as an effective approach to risk reduction and health promotion.

Author Biography

WITHAYA CHANCHAI, College of Public Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Withaya Chanchai is a doctoral student in the College of Public Health Sciences Chulalongkorn University. Prior to joining CPHS, he worked at the University of Phayao a Lecturer . Specialist in Occupational Health and Health Behavior as, I have conducted several studies on occupational exposure to ergonomics and variety  of  occupational health behavior.  I  have  about  6  years  of  experience  performing research on occupational exposure and occupational health behavior. Withaya holds a Masters in Public Health from Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol  University


Anis Jellad, Hanene Lajili, Soumaya Boudokhane, Houda Migaou, Sarra Maatallah, Zohra Ben Salah Frih. Musculoskeletal disorders among Tunisian hospital staff: Prevalence and risk factors. The Egyptian Rheumatologist 2013; 35: 59–63.

Aasa, U., Barnekow-Bergkvist, M., Angquist, K.-A., Brulin, C. Relationships between work-related factors and disorders in the neck-shoulder and low-back region among female and male ambulance personnel. J Occup Health 2005; 47 (6) :481-489.

Mike Fray & Sue Hignett, TROPHI: development of a tool to measure complex, multi-factorial patient handling interventions. Ergonomics 2013; 56 : 1280–1294.

Long, M.H., Johnston, V., Bogossian, F. Work-related upper quadrant musculoskeletal disorders in midwives, nurses and physicians: a systematic review of risk factors and functional consequences. Appl Ergon 2013; 43 (3) : 455-467.

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. Introduccion a los trastornos musculoesquele´ ticos de origen laboral. 2007, Available form:

Magnago, T.S., Lisboa, M., Souza, I., Moreira, M. Musculoskeletal disorders in nursing workers: evidences associated to work conditions. Rev Bras Enferm 2007; 60 (6) : 701–705.

Solidaki, E., Chatzi, L., Bitsios, P., Markatzi, I., Plana, E., Castro, F., Palmer, K.,Coggon, D., Kogevinas, M. Work-related and psychological determinants of multisite musculoskeletal pain. Scand J Work Environ 2010; Health 36 (1) : 54–61.

Evanoff, B.A., Bohr, P.C., Wolf, L.D. Effects of a participatory ergonomics team among hospital orderlies. Am J Ind Med 1999; 35 (4): 358–365.

Risk Control 360° LLC Safe Patient Handling. 2015, Available form:

Karahan, A., Kav, S., Abbasoglu, A., Dogan, N. Low back pain: prevalence and associated risk factors among hospital staff. J Adv Nurs 2009; 65 (3) : 516–524.

Willy, E. The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in Nor-wegian nurses‟ aides. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2003; 76 (8) :625–630.

Matsudaira, K., Palmer, K., Reading, I., Hirai, M., Yoshimura, N., Coggon, D. Prevalence and correlates of regional pain and associated disability in Japanese workers. Occup Environ. Med 2010; 68 (3) : 191–196.

Dinora Bernal, Javier Campos-Serna, Aurelio Tobias, Sergio Vargas-Prada, Fernando G. Benavides, Consol Serra. Work-related psychosocial risk factors and musculoskeletal disorders in hospital nurses and nursing aides A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Nursing Studies 2015; 52 : 635–648.

Tzu-Hsien Lin, Yen Chun Liu, Tien-Yu Hsieh, Feng-Ying Hsiao, Yi-Chen Lai, Chin-Shun Chang. Prevalence of and risk factors for musculoskeletal complaints among Taiwanese dentists. J Dental Sci 2012; 7 : 65-71.

Songkham Wanpen, Wattasit Siriwong, Mark Gregory Robson. Effects of a healthy unit guidance (HUG) program on work environments and health outcomes among nursing personel. J Health Res 2013; 27 )4(: 243-251.

Klangsin P. Ergonomic intervention for reducing work-related musculoskeletal disorders by WISE technique in a cardboard box factory. Master’s thesis of Science, Physical Therapy. Graduate studies, Mahidol University Bangkok,2007.

Ebara T, Khuvasanont T, Krungkraiwong S, Amornratanapaichit R, Tachi N, Takeyama H. Impact of ISO/TS 20646-1 ergonomic procedures for the improvement of local muscular workloads‟on work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Int Health 2007; 45: 256-6.

Kuorinka, I., Jonsson, B., Kilbom, A., Vinterberg, H., Biering-Sorensen, F., Andersson, G., Jorgensen, K. Standardised nordic questionnaires for the analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms. Appl Ergon 1987; 18 : 233–237.

Thompson, S.K., Mason, E., Dukes, S. Ergonomics and cytotechnologists: reported musculoskeletal discomfort. Diagn Cytopathol 2003; 29: 364–367.

Palliser, C.R., Firth, H.M., Feyer, A.M., Paulin, S.M. Musculoskeletal discomfort and work-related stress in New Zealand dentists. Work Stress 2005; 19: 351–359.

Lipscomb, J.A., Trinkoff, A.M., Geiger-Brown, J., Brady, B. Work-schedule characteristics and reported musculoskeletal disorders of registered nurses. Scand. J. Work Environ”. Health 2005; 28: 394–401.

Glover, W., McGregor, A., Sullivan, C., Hague, J. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders affecting members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Physiotherapy 2005; 91: 138–147.

Choobineh A, Movahed M, Tabatabaie S, Kumashiro M. Perceived demands and musculoskeletal disorders on operating room nurses of Shiraz city hospital. Ind Health 2010; 48: 74–84.

kromark K, Dulon M, Beck B, Nienhaus A. Back disorders and lumbar load in nursing staff in geriatric care: a comparison of home-based care and nursing homes. J Occup Med Toxicol 2009; 4 : 33–42.

Maumet S, De Gaudemaris R, Caroly S, Balducci F. Risk factors related to musculo skeletal disorders in health care workers. Elements to take into consideration of risk assessment procedures. Arch Mal Prof Environ 2005; 66 : 236–43.

Bejia I, Younes M, Jamila HB, Khalfallah T, Ben Salem K, Touzi M. Prevalence and factors associated to low back pain among hospital staff. Joint Bone Spine 2005; 72 : 254–9.

Orawan Kaewboonchoo, Tipagorn Saipech , Pimsupa Chandanasotthi , Sara Arporn. Mental Health Status among Thai Hospital Nurses. J Med Assoc Thai 2009; 92 (Suppl 7): 83-87.

Bernard, B.P. (Ed.). Musculoskeletal Disorders and Workplace Factors: a Critical Review of Epidemiologic Evidence for Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck, Upper Extremity, and Low Back. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Cincinnati, 1997; pp 100-103.

MacDonald, W. Workload, stress and psychosocial factors as hazards for musculoskeletal disorders. J Occup Health Saf Aust N Z 2004; 20 : 37–47.

Huang, G.D., Feuerstein, M., Sauter, S.L. Occupational stress and work-related upper extremity disorders: concepts and models. Am J Ind Med 2002; 41: 298–314.

Fredriksson, K., Alfredsson, L., Thorbjornsson, C.B., Punnett, L., Toomingas, A., Torgen, M., Kilbom, A.s. “Risk factors for neck and shoulder disorders: a nested case-control study covering a 24-year period”. Am J Ind Med 2002; 38 : 516–528.

Leclerc, A., Chastang, J.F., Niedhammer, I., Landre, M.F., Roquelaure, Y. “Incidence of shoulder pain in repetitive work”. Occup. Environ. Med 2004; 61 : 39–44.

Hagen, K., Thune, O. Work incapacity from low back pain in the general population. Spine 1998; 23 : 2091–2095.

Hoogendoorn, W.E., Bongers, P.M., de Vet, H.C.W., Ariens, G.A.M., van Mechelen, W.,Bouter, L.M. High physical work load and low job satisfaction increase the risk of sickness absence due to low back pain: results of a prospective cohort study. Occup Environ Med 2002; 59 : 323–328.

Inga-Lill Engkvist, Ewa Wigaeus Hjelm, Mats Hagberg,Ewa Menckel, Lena Ekenvall. Risk Indicators for Reported Over-Exertion Back Injuries among Female Nursing Personnel”. Epidemiology 2002; 11 No. 5: 519-522.

Holtermann A, Clausen T, Jørgensen MB, Burdorf A, Andersen LL. Patient handling and risk for developing persistent low-back pain among female healthcare workers. Scand J Work Environ Health 2013; 39(2): 164-169.

Messing K. Ergonomic studies provide information about occupational exposure differences between women and men. J Am Med Womens Asso 2000; 55: 72–75.

How to Cite
CHANCHAI W, SONGKHAM W, KETSOMPORN P, SAPPAKITCHANCHAI P, SIRIWONG W. Prevalence and Factors Associated with Musculoskeletal Disorders among Thai Hospital Orderlies. Int J Occup Hyg. 7(3):132-138.
Original Article(s)