Personal consequences of work-related physical discomfort: an exploratory study

Long, Jennifer, Burgess-Limerick, Robin and Stapleton, Fiona (2014) Personal consequences of work-related physical discomfort: an exploratory study. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 97 1: 30-35. doi:10.1111/cxo.12066

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Author Long, Jennifer
Burgess-Limerick, Robin
Stapleton, Fiona
Title Personal consequences of work-related physical discomfort: an exploratory study
Journal name Clinical and Experimental Optometry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0816-4622
Publication date 2014
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/cxo.12066
Volume 97
Issue 1
Start page 30
End page 35
Total pages 6
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Work-related physical discomfort has been reported in Australian optometrists. The purpose of this paper is to explore the personal consequences of work-related discomfort.

Methods: Forty-seven optometrists with self-reported work-related discomfort participated in a 30-minute telephone or face-to-face interview related to ergonomics and physical comfort. Self-employed, employee, locum and retired optometrists participated. Four avenues were investigated; namely, description of discomfort, non-work contributing factors, whether the participant has ever stopped work due to discomfort, and the treatments accessed to alleviate discomfort. These data were subject to qualitative and quantitative analyses.

Results: Reported discomfort ranged from mild to severe. Eight participants (17 per cent) ascribed their discomfort entirely to work and seven (15 per cent) cited non-work factors as the cause. Many participants (32, 68 per cent) reported that non-work factors, for example, sport and driving, aggravated existing work-related discomfort and for some, their discomfort impacted on home and leisure activities. There were 15 participants (32 per cent), who have stopped work because of discomfort, including two who have ceased working as an optometrist and two who now work reduced hours. The majority (32) continue to work despite discomfort. Many participants (31, 66 per cent) seek treatment to alleviate discomfort, with seven participants (15 per cent) reporting that they receive multiple therapies per week. Work-related discomfort was generally viewed as a personal issue, with most participants accessing treatment in their own time (27, 57 per cent) and funding it personally or with private health insurance. Only four participants have received funding through workers’ compensation or income protection insurance.

Conclusions: Work-related discomfort has significant financial and personal costs for some Australian optometrists. These qualitative data can be used to develop quantitative tools for assessing the impact of discomfort on quality of life for optometrists and their families. The results also highlight the need for preventative action to reduce work-related discomfort within the optometric profession.
Keyword Consequences
Work-related discomfort
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 23 May 2013.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre Publications
Official 2014 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 2 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 06 Sep 2013, 14:00:31 EST by Dr Robin Burgess-limerick on behalf of Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre