To evaluate the effects of cold exposure on the musculoskeletal system, two surveys on the subjective musculoskeletal symptoms among male electricians working in the buildings under construction were performed in winter (N=74) and summer seasons (N=83). A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on age, occupational career, working habit, present illness, and subjective musculoskeletal symptoms. Mean age, occupational career and daily smoking of the supervisors were significantly higher than those of the other subjects. In general, prevalence rates of stiffness, numbness, pain and Raynaud's phenomenon in the fingers, finger cold sensation, dull movement of the fingers, pain in the wrist, knee joint pain, pain and numbness in the foot and foot cold sensation in winter were significantly higher than those in summer. These results were marked especially in the workers except supervisors. In winter, there were no significant differences in the prevalence rates of subjective musculoskeletal complaints between the supervisors and the other workers. On the other hand, in summer, prevalence of stiffness and pain in the shoulder, stiffness and pain in the neck, dullness and pain in the arm, finger cold sensation, low back dullness and low back pain in the supervisors were significantly higher than those in the other workers. These results suggest that effects of cold on the musculoskeletal symptoms markedly appeared in the workers except supervisors.
2010 by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health