Physical Work Demands of Childcare Workers in Denmark: Device-Based Measurements and Workplace Observations Among 199 Childcare Workers from 16 Day Nurseries

Andreas Holtermann, Peter Fjeldstad Hendriksen, Kathrine Greby Schmidt, Malene Jagd Svendsen, Charlotte Diana Nørregaard Rasmussen

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OBJECTIVES: Childcare workers in Denmark have high prevalence of musculoskeletal pain (MSP) and sickness absence, but the existing knowledge of their physical work demands is limited, hampering preventive initiatives. This study aimed to assess the physical work demands with accelerometers and workplace observations of childcare workers handling children age 0-3. METHODS: Data collection consisted of an electronic survey, anthropometric measurements, accelerometer measurements providing information of physical activity types and postures with Acti4 software from five consecutive workdays, as well as 4-h visual workplace observation per childcare worker from 16 Danish nurseries. RESULTS: In total, 199 childcare workers were enrolled in the study. A total of 4181 working hours of accelerometer measurements and 722 h of workplace observations were carried out. Accelerometer measurements showed that they spent about half of the working day (44.8%) in sedentary postures, and the rest standing (22.8%), moving (13.0%), walking (14.6%), running (0.1%), and climbing stairs (0.7%), with 4.1% in knee straining postures (kneeling and squatting) and 4.3% forward trunk inclination >60°. Workplace observations showed that they carried children 1.8% of the working hours. CONCLUSIONS: Physical work demands of Danish childcare workers are characterized by about half of the workday being sedentary, and the remaining of the workday being quite evenly distributed between standing and dynamic activities, with low exposures to carrying children. Their exposure to forward bending of the trunk and knee straining postures could impose a risk for MSP and sickness absence, and preventive initiatives should be considered.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftAnnals of Work Exposures and Health
Vol/bind64
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)586-595
ISSN2398-7308
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 3. jun. 2020

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