Assessment of back pain and disability status among automotive industry workers, in Ethiopia

Wondosen Hailu, Mulusew Getahun, Ahmed Mohammed, Negash Nurahmed, Zemachu Ashuro, Shemsu Kedir, Ansha Nega, Yared Mamushet


Background: Back pain is a very common public health problem in the manufacturing industry and a major cause of disability that affects work performance and wellbeing. Currently, manufacturing sectors in Ethiopia, including automotive manufacturing is growing well but there is poor culture of work place safety. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of back pain and disability status at Bishoftu automotive industry workers.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among 412 workers in a period of February to May 2018. Simple random sampling technique was applied to select participants. Data was collected by face-to-face interview using standard Nordic and Oswestry back pain disability index tools. Analysis was done by using SPSS version 24. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to determine associations.  

Results: Prevalence of work related back pain among automotive production factory workers during last 12 months and last seven days were 51.7% and 25% respectively and related disability was 87%. The risk factors of the work related back pain that were identified include; work experience (11-15 years) AOR: 0.02, 95% CI (0.001-0.46), tasks that involve bending and twisting AOR: 2.03, 95% CI (1.19-3.45) and lifting of heavy loads AOR: 4.89, 95% CI (2.83-8.47).

Conclusions: High prevalence of back pain among automotive industry workers was seen. Furthermore, this study verified workers with back pain and more specifically those working in tasks that involve with the identified associated risk factors were suffer from disability. The problem should need more attention to promote the health and safety of workers.


Back pain, Lower back pain, Upper back pain, Disability

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