Personal and Psychosocial Risk Factor for Low Back Pain among Automotive Manual Handling Workers in Selangor, Malaysia


  • Mazrura Sahani Environmental Health and Industrial Safety Programme,School of Diagnostic and Applied Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 53000 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.


Low back pain - manual material handling (MMH) - risk factors.



It is well known that low back pain among working population is a global problem throughout the world. However, the current situation of occupational low back pain in Malaysia is still vague due to limited number of studies conducted locally.


A cross sectional study was conducted among three automotive industry workers in Selangor, Malaysia from October 2010 to April 2011.
Methods This study aims to determine the prevalence and risk factors of low back pain among automotive industry workers performing manual material handling tasks using self-administered questionnaire survey.


A modified Standardised Nordic Questionnaire was used to assess low back pain problem, to obtain personal and psychosocial risk factors information. The prevalence of low back pain showed increment in the point prevalence of 57.9%, 49.5%, and 35.1 % for 12 months, one month, and of 7 days respectively. Working hour, frequency of overtime, stress at work, work pace, and faster movement were found to be significantly associated with the 12 months prevalence for low back pain.


This finding indicates that psychosocial risk factors are associated to the occurrence of low back pain.



Department of Statistics Malaysia. Year of Statistics Malaysia 2009. 2010.

Department of Statistics Malaysia. Monthly Manufacturing Statistics. 2013.

Gregg L. Ergonomics: Are automakers on the right track? Occupational Hazards. 1996; 58(10):96-104.

Landau K, Rademacher H, Meschke H, Winter, G, Schaub K, Grasmueck M, et al. Musculoskeletal disorders in assembly jobs in the automotive industry with special reference to age management aspects. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. 2008; 38(7):561-576.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS [Internet]. Washington DC: U.S Department of labor; 2012 (update 2012 October 25; cited 2013 July 21). Available from

Social Security Organisation, SOCSO. Annual Report 2006. 2007.

Social Security Organisation, SOCSO. Annual Report 2011. 2012.

Hoy D, Bain C, Williams G, March L, Brooks P, Blyth F, et al. A systematic review of the global prevalence of low back pain. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2012; 64(6):2028-2037.

Linton SJ. Occupational Psychological factors increase the risk for Back Pain: A Systematic Review. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. 2001; 11(1): 53-66.

Kourinka I, Jonsson B, Killbom A, Vinterberg H. Standardised Nordic Questionnaire analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms. Apply Ergonomics. 1987; 18(3): 233-237.

Deros BM, Daruis DDI, Ismail AR, Sawal NA, Ghani JA. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders among workers' performing manual material handling work in an automotive manufacturing company. Am J Applied Sci. 2010; 7(8): 1087-1092.

Ghaffari M, Alipour A, Jensen I, Farshad AA, Vingard E. Low back pain among Iranian industrial workers. Occupational Medicine. 2006; 56(7):455-460.

Mohd Nizam J, Rampal KG. Study of back pain and factors associated with it among oil palm plantation workers in Selangor. J Occu Safety Health. 2005; 2(2):36-41.

Tamrin, SBM, Yokoyama K, Jalaludin J, Aziz NA, Jemoin N, Nordin R, et al. The association between risk factors and low back pain among commercial vehicle drivers in Peninsular Malaysia: a preliminary result. Industrial Health. 2007; 45(2):268-278.

Smith DR, Wei N, Kang L, Wang RS. Musculoskeletal disorders among professional nurses in mainland china. Journal of Professional Nursing. 2004; 20(6): 390-395.

Gangopadhyay S, Das B, Ghoshal G, Das T, Ghosh T, Ganguly R, et al. The prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders among prawn seed collectors of sunderbans. J. Human Ergol. 2008; 37(2): 83-90.

Rahmah MA, Rozy J, Halim I, Jamsiah M, Shamsul AS. Prevalence of back pain among nurses working in government health clinics and hospital in Port Dickson, Malaysia. Journal of Community Health. 2008; 14(2):11-18.

Okunribido OO, Magnusson M, Pope M. Delivery drivers and low back pain: A study of the exposure to posture demands, manual maerials handling and whole-body vibration. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. 2006; 36(3):265-273.

Gallis C. Work-related prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms among Greek forest workers. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. 2006; 36(8): 731-736.

Vieira ER, Kumar S, Narayan Y. Smoking, no-exercise, overweight and low back disorder in welders and nurses. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. 2006; 38(2):143-149.

Gilkey DP, Enebo BA, Keefe TJ, Acosta MSV, Hautaluoma JE, Bigelow PL, et al. Low back pain in Hispanic residential carpenters. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2007; 6(1): 2–14.

Myers AH, Baker SP, Li G, Smith GS, Wiker S, Liang KY, et al. Back injury in municipal workers: a case-control study. Am J Public Health. 1999; 89(7):1036-1041.

Louw QA, Morris LD, Grimmer-Somers K. The prevalence of low back pain in Africa: a systematic review. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2007; 8(1):105.

Guo HR, Chang YC, Yeh WY, Chen CW, Guo YL. Prevalence of musculoskeletal disorder among workers in Taiwan: a nationwide study. Journal of Occupational Health. 2004; 46(1):26-36.

Josephson M, Vingard E. Workplace factors and care seeking for low back pain among female nursing personnel. Scand J Work Environ Health. 1998; 24:465–472.

Fernandes RCP, Carvalho FM, Assuncao AA, Silvany AM. Interaction between physical and psychosocial demands of work associated to low back pain. Rev Saúde Pública. 2009; 43(2):326-34.

Krause N, Ragland DR, Fisher JM, Syme SL. Psychosocial job factors, physical workload, and incidence of work-related spinal injury: a 5-year prospective study of urban transit operators. Spine. 1998; 23(23):2507–2516.

Trinkoff AM, Le R, Geiger-Brown J, Lipscomb J, Lang G. Longitudinal relationship of work hours, mandatory overtime, and on-call to musculoskeletal problems in nurses. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2006; 49(11): 964–971.

MacLeod D. The ergonomics edge: Improving safety, quality and productivity. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 1995.

Westgaard RH, BjØrklund R. Generation of muscle tensions additional to postural load. Ergonomics. 1987; 30(6):911-923.


Additional Files



How to Cite

Sahani, M. (2014). Personal and Psychosocial Risk Factor for Low Back Pain among Automotive Manual Handling Workers in Selangor, Malaysia. International Journal of Public Health Research, 4(1), 412–418. Retrieved from