Work related musculoskeletal disorders among medical laboratory professionals: a narrative review

Parul Raj Agrawal, Arun G. Maiya, Veena Kamath, Asha Kamath


Work related musculoskeletal disorders are common health problem and increasing cause of disability. Laboratory professionals are unique group of healthcare professionals who play an essential part in diagnosis and therapy planning and often their work is associated with potential health hazards. Objective of current study was to review literature on prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among medical laboratory professionals. Electronic databases and bibliographies were searched and identified papers evaluated against inclusion criteria. The searching strategy uncovered 13 reports. Total 7 studies were included for the review. A high degree of heterogeneity among studies was observed. The overall prevalence’s ranges from 40-60%. With neck being more prevalent 18-78%. However additional high quality studies are required in this area.


WRMSD, Pathologist, Microscope user, Laboratory technician

Full Text:



World Health Organization. The burden of musculoskeletal conditions at the start of the new millennium: report of a WHO scientific group. In: WHO, eds. Technical Report Series 919. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2003: 1-218.

Bert Sadleir. Environmental and occupational health issues in hospital, 2014. Available at:

Stricoff RS, Walters DB. Musculoskeletal disorders. In: Stricoff RS, Walters DB, eds. Handbook of Laboratory Health and Safety. 2nd edition. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.; 1995: 480.

Eshetu Lemma Haile, Bineyam Taye, Fatuma Hussen. Ergonomic workstations and work-related musculoskeletal disorders in the clinical laboratory. Lab Med. 2012;43:e11-9.

Florian Rudolf Fritzsche, Constanze Ramach, Davide Soldini, Rosmarie Caduff, Marianne Tinguely, Estelle Cassoly, et al. Occupational health risks of pathologists: results from a nationwide online questionnaire in Switzerland. BMC Public Health. 2012;12:1054.

Marianne Gerner Bjorksten, Bo Almby, Ejvor Sassarinis Jansson. Hand and shoulder ailments among laboratory technicians using modern plunger-operated pipettes. Appl Ergonomics. 1994;25(2):88-94.

Evan George. Occupational hazard for pathologists microscope use and musculoskeletal disorders. Am J Clin Pathol. 2010;133:543-8.

Kalavar SS, Hunting KL. Musculoskeletal symptoms among cytotechnologists. Lab Med. 1996;27:765-9.

Alireza Rahimi, Babak Vahdatpour, Saeid Khosrawi, Alireza Mogtaderi, Soheil Sattari, Farnaz Dabiri, et al. Work related musculoskeletal disorders among pathologist in Isfahan: a cross-sectional study. Res J Biol Sci. 2010;5(12):793-7.

Shreya Maulik, Amitabha De, Rauf Iqbal. Work related musculoskeletal disorders among medical laboratory technicians. In: Shreya Maulik, Amitabha De, Rauf Iqbal, eds. Southeast Asian Network of Ergonomics Societies Conference (SEANES). Langkawi, Kedah: IEEE; 2012: 1-6.