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J Occup Health year 2005 volume 47 number 5 page 454 - 465
Classification Field Study
Title Subjective Symptoms among Female Workers and Winter Working Conditions in a Consumer Cooperative
Author Ryoichi INABA1, Seyed Mohammad MIRBOD1, Junichi KUROKAWA1, Masato INOUE1 and Hirotoshi IWATA2
Organization 1Deparatment of Occupational Health, Graduate School of Medicine, Gifu University and 2Gifu Occupational Health Promotion Center, Japan
Keywords Cold exposure, Subjective symptoms, Female workers, Warm Clothes, Physical activity
Correspondence R. Inaba, Department of Occupational Health, Graduate School of Medicine, Gifu University, 1-1 Yanagido, Gifu 501-1194, Japan (e-mail: rinaba@cc.gifu-u.ac.jp)
Abstract Subjective Symptoms among Female Workers and Winter Working Conditions in a Consumer Cooperative: Ryoichi INABA, et al. Deparatment of Occupational Health, Graduate School of Medicine, Gifu University-Subjective musculoskeletal symptoms are more frequently complained about in cold store work and in related conditions than in normal temperature work. This cross sectional study was undertaken (a) to explore the prevalence of subjective symptoms in winter among a group of female workers engaged in classification of cold storage goods, and in a group of female checkers in several supermarkets of a large consumer cooperative; and (b) to give recommendations for improving the winter working conditions of these workers. The subjects consisted of 46 workers engaged in classification of cold storage goods, 56 checkers operating a laser scanner in supermarkets and 59 office workers (control group). Work loads for the three groups were estimated according to the recommended criteria. A self-administered questionnaire covering age, occupational career, smoking, alcohol drinking and physical exercise, present or past history of diseases, individual protective measures against cold, and subjective symptoms (54 items) was used. The air temperature of the working site at the opening time for classification workers was 4.8degree which was significantly lower than those measured for the other two work places (12.1degree and 15.8degree). About 70 to 80% of classification workers complained of cold sensation in different body regions, as well as shoulder stiffness, and problems related to the back. The supermarket checkers and office workers had a high prevalence of cold sensation in their feet. The frequencies of using warm clothes and foot heaters, as an individual measure to work comfortably in winter among the classification workers and the checkers were significantly higher than that among the office workers. We concluded that work difficulty due to moderate cold exposure among workers in the consumer cooperative could be reduced by some physical activity as well as proper clothes.