Increased Occurrence of Acute Pain in Low Income Construction Workers

Abstract

The highly physical nature of construction jobs increases stress and strain on the body that can lead to an increase in the occurrence of pain and chronic musculoskeletal disorders. æWithin the industry there may be variations in the exposure to the physical demands that could be associated with different pay grades and age. æThe goal of this study was to look at the occurrence of pain as it relates to income and age, in order to create awareness of disparities that may exist. æWe conducted a cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample of construction workers in eastern Massachusetts between January and July of 2012 and asked workers about acute pain experience and demographics. æThere was a statistically significant difference in reported pain in the low income participants (<$75,000 per year, n=139), when compared to the high income participants (?$75,000 per year, n=223) (student t-test, p=0.032). æOf the low income participants, 48.6% reported pain, while only 38.1% of the high income participants reported pain. æAdditionally, when comparing older (?44 years old, n=186) and younger (<44 years old, n=193) participants, there was no statistically significant difference in reported pain (student t-test, p=.88). æThis study supports the idea that health disparities do exist across income groups within the construction industry and perhaps these disparities are due to variation in job demands; however, we have yet to explore relationships of job demands across income levels. æConstruction work sites lack ergonomic programs to control for job hazards, this data suggests that such programs are needed.