Musculoskeletal Symptoms and Skin Temperature Variations in Solid Waste Collectors

  • Pamela Castro
  • Eliane Maria Gorga LagoEmail author
  • Felipe Mendes da Cruz
  • Tomi Zlatar
  • Bianca M. Vasconcelos
  • Ana Rosa Bezerra Martins
  • Laura Bezerra Martins
  • Marcus Araújo Costa
  • Béda BarkokébasJr.
Part of the Studies in Systems, Decision and Control book series (SSDC, volume 277)


One of fundamental activities required in a modern society is the collection of urban solid waste. Due to the intensity of the workload, the required physical exertion may result in musculoskeletal symptoms of the collectors. Thus, the aim of this study was to identify musculoskeletal symptoms in urban solid waste collectors and to propose safety measures to minimize the impacts on workers’ health. For the development of this work, the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) was applied in order to identify the prevalence of discomfort or pain in the body regions of 9 waste collectors. Additionally, thermal images were captured in these workers in 4 activity steps and the results were compared with the NMQ responses. The result of the NMQ showed that the highest number of complaints was in the regions of the dorsal spine (with grade 4), lumbar (5) and knees (5), during the period of past 12 months. Thermographic image showed a temperature increase in the backbone regions of 0.33 °C and lumbar region of 0.70 °C. Considering the results collected through the NMQ and thermography, the variations in the initial and final skin temperature values correspond to the musculoskeletal symptoms reported by the workers, especially in relation to the lumbar and dorsal region. In order to reduce the risk of injury and to improve performance, it is suggested to apply different organizational measures, including training and occupational gymnastics before initiation of the working activities.


Thermography Urban waste collectors Musculoskeletal symptoms Occupational health Safety at work 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Polytechnic School of the University of PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Federal University of PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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