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Impact of Work Organizational Factors on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Epicondylitis

Bao, Stephen S. PhD; Kapellusch, Jay M. PhD; Merryweather, Andrew S. PhD; Thiese, Matthew S. PhD; Garg, Arun PhD; Hegmann, Kurt T. MD, MPH; Silverstein, Barbara A. PhD; Marcum, Jennifer L. PhD; Tang, Ruoliang PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 8 - p 760–764
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000790

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify relationships between work organizational variables (job rotation, overtime work, having a second job, and work pacing) (These work organizational variables and their relationships with biomechanical and psychosocial exposures were studied previously and published in a separate paper.) and health outcome measures [carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), lateral and medial epicondylitis (LEPI/MEPI)].

Methods: Using a pooled baseline cohort of 1834 subjects, the relationships were studied using logistic regression models.

Results: Varied degrees of associations between the work organizational and outcomes variables were found. Job rotation was significantly associated with being a CTS case [odds ratio (OR) = 1.23, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.00 to 1.50]. Overtime work was significantly associated with lower LEPI prevalence (OR = 0.48, 95% CI: 0.28 to 0.84). No statistically significant associations were found between having a second job and different work pacing and any of the three health outcome measures.

Conclusions: Work organizational variables were only partially associated with the studied health outcomes.

Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia (Drs Bao, Silverstein, Marcum); Department of Occupational Science & Technology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Drs Kapellusch, Garg, Tang); Department of Mechanical Engineering (Dr Merryweather), and Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH), University of Utah, Salt Lake City (Drs Thiese, Hegmann).

Address correspondence to: Stephen S. Bao, PhD, P.O. Box 44330, SHARP Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia, WA 98504-4330 (

Authors Bao, Kapellusch, Merryweather, Thiese, Garg, Hegmann, Silverstein, Marcum, and Tang have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

This study was supported in part by research funding from the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (R01OH010474), 1 U 01 OH007917-01, and T42/CCT810426-10. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Copyright © 2016 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine