volume: 43, issue:
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) comprise one of the most important occupational health issues in forestry professions. The purpose of the study was to examine the association among musculoskeletal disorders, antrhopometric and personal data, mental workload and occupational fatigue in forest professionals in northern Iran by means of the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index (NASA-TLX), and the Swedish Occupational Fatigue Inventory (SOFI). More than eight out of every ten subjects reported at least one MSD symptom during the past 12 months, with lower back (72.5%), feet and ankles (49%) and neck (41.2%) being the more frequently affected body regions. Similar MSD prevalences were reported for the period of seven days prior to data collection. Both the mental workload (grand mean 73.18±7.54) and occupational fatigue (grand mean 106.20±24.53) achieved high scores. MSD prevalence was found to be correlated with the SOFI score and the NASA-TLX score during the last year and seven days prior to data collection, respectively.
Overall, the study results confirm the very demanding nature of the forest professions, which are characterized by high MSD prevalence, increased occupational fatigue and high mental workload. Given the small-scale forestry characteristics in the study area, taking measures such as introducing vocational training and promoting the use of personal protective equipment are some first necessary steps for the local forestry workforce.