The impact of musculoskeletal disorders on absenteeism in hospital workers in the Mangaung Metropolitan District
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The study was prompted by the high rate of absenteeism among the personnel at hospitals within the Mangaung Metropolitan District, which has a negative impact on services provided to the patients. The primary objective was to examine the extent to which the musculoskeletal disorders, due to poor ergonomic environment, contribute to absenteeism. A quantitative cross-sectional design was used in this study, to determine the relationship between the prevalence, the level of discomfort of musculoskeletal disorders, and the ability to work. Data was collected using an adapted Cornell Musculoskeletal Discomfort Questionnaire (CMDQ), and analysed using the chi-square test. The results show a high prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, shoulders, upper back and lower back. The pain in these areas was mostly moderate, but those who indicated unbearable pain also indicated substantial interference with ability to carry out their duties. On the lower peripheral joints, the prevalence was high for the feet, followed by the knees and the hips. The feet had a higher level of discomfort leading to substantial interference to carry out duties than the knees and hips. The chi-square tests indicated significant relationship between the level of discomfort due to pain of musculoskeletal nature and the interference to work for neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back hips and feet. Thus the level of discomfort in these areas significantly contribute to absenteeism. With the rest of the body parts, there was no significant relationship as the p-value is greater than 0.1. The observations indicated postures and ergonomics which posed a risk for musculoskeletal disorders.