Occupational Asthma Reference

Bio F, Sadhra S, Jackson C, Burge PS, Low back pain in underground gold miners in Ghana, Ghana Med J, 2007;41:21-25,

Keywords: Ghana, miner, back pain, epidemiology, cross sectional, questionnaire

Known Authors

Sherwood Burge, Oasys Sherwood Burge

Fred Bio, University Hospital, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana Fred Bio

Steve Sadhra, Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, Birmingham Steve Sadhra

Craig Jackson, Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, Birmingham, UK Craig Jackson

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BACKGROUND: Biomechanical lumbo-spinal strain and intense physical work are the characteristic hallmarks of mining work.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and predisposing factors for Low Back Pain (LBP) among male underground gold miners at the Obuasi gold mine in Ghana.

METHODS: This is a cross sectional study on 280 male underground gold miners from June to October 2001 with a structured questionnaire administered through interviews.

RESULTS: The twelve months prevalence of low back pain among miners was 67%. The mean age of the workers was 40 years (+/- 5.6, ranging from 27 to 53 years). Increasing age was significantly associated with low back pain, (P=0.05) OR 2.07 (95% CI 0.99 to 4.34) after adjustment for smoking and occupation. Prevalence of LBP was highest among workers performing engineering (82%) duties. Heavy physical work (77%), was identified as a major cause of LBP, which could be prevented by the use of lifting aids (16%).

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of low back pain in this group is comparable with that obtained from other studies in Africa and Europe. Training and education as a means of reducing LBP was suggested by just a few of the respondents.

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