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Biomechanical and organisational stressors and associations with employment withdrawal among pregnant workers: evidence and implications.

Authors
  • Guendelman, Sylvia1
  • Gemmill, Alison2
  • MacDonald, Leslie A3
  • 1 a Division of Community Health and Human Development, School of Public Health , University of California Berkeley , Berkeley , CA , USA.
  • 2 b Department of Demography , University of California Berkeley , Berkeley , CA , USA.
  • 3 c National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health , Cincinnati , OH , USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Ergonomics
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2016
Volume
59
Issue
12
Pages
1613–1624
Identifiers
PMID: 27119569
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

The distribution of exposure to biomechanical and organisational job stressors (BOJS) and associations with employment withdrawal (antenatal leave, unemployment) was examined in a case-control study of 1114 pregnant workers in California. We performed descriptive and multivariate logistic and multinomial regression analyses. At pregnancy onset, 57% were exposed to one or more biomechanical stressors, including frequent bending, heavy lifting and prolonged standing. One-third were simultaneously exposed to BOJS. Exposure to biomechanical stressors declined as pregnancy progressed and cessation often (41%) coincided with employment withdrawal (antenatal leave and unemployment). In multivariate modelling, whether we adjusted for or considered organisational stressors as coincident exposures, results showed that pregnant workers exposed to biomechanical stressors had increased employment withdrawal compared to the unexposed. Work schedule accommodations moderate this association. Paid antenatal leave, available to few US women, was an important strategy for mitigating exposure to BOJS. Implications for science and policy are discussed. Practitioner Summary: This case-control study showed that exposure to biomechanical stressors decline throughout pregnancy. Antenatal leave was an important strategy used for mitigating exposure among sampled California women with access to paid benefits. Employment withdrawal among workers exposed to BJOS may be reduced by proactive administrative and engineering efforts applied early in pregnancy.

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