Public health concern on occupational hazards among pathologists and microbiologists in Mysuru district, India

D. Sunil Kumar, G. Anup, Praveen Kulkarni, Nayana Shabadi, M. R. Narayana Murthy


Background: Highly qualified and trained medical specialists such as Pathologists and Microbiologists who need to work at the microscope for long hours are at a high risk of musculoskeletal and ophthalmic disorders. This study is an attempt to identify such potential occupational hazards with the objectives to estimate the magnitude of occupational hazards among Pathologists and Microbiologists in Mysuru, and to assess the factors influencing these hazards among the study participants.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among the Pathologists and Microbiologists of Mysuru district over a period of six months, a total of 45 study participants were included. An online self-administered questionnaire was sent to the study participants through e-mail and asked to fill and submit online, keeping complete confidentiality, and with informed consent. The results were analysed using appropriate statistical methods.

Results: Pathologists and Microbiologists in almost equal proportions consented and took part in the study. 67% of them reported work related musculoskeletal problems, and 42% had visual refractive errors, mostly myopia. 9% of them reported to have experienced occupational injuries, mostly needle-stick injuries. None of them reported to smoke. Majority were happy with the work atmosphere and environmental conditions. Most of them were positive about the work-related situation in the coming years.

Conclusions: This study found that more than half of the pathologists and microbiologists are exposed to occupational hazards and have suffered musculoskeletal, ophthalmic morbidities and had injuries, but none of which were life-threatening. Most of the risk factors are avoidable through ergonomic equipment and training.


Occupational hazards, Pathologists, Microbiologists, Musculoskeletal disorders

Full Text:



CDC. Laboratory Ergonomics. URL available from Accessed 22 November 2018.

Yelin EH, Felts WR. A summary of the impact of musculoskeletal conditions in the United States. Arthritis Rheum. 1990;33:750‑5.

Yelin EH, Henke CJ, Epstein WV. Work disability among persons with musculoskeletal conditions. Arthritis Rheum. 1986;29:1322‑33.

Karwowski W, Marras WS. Occupational ergonomics: Principles of work design. Florida: CRC Press; 2003.

Aptel M, Aublet‑Cuvelier A, Cnockaert JC. Work related musculoskeletal disorders of the upper limb. Joint Bone Spine. 2002;69:546‑55.

Kilbom A. Editorial/Prevention of work‑related musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. Int J Ind Ergon. 1998;21:1‑3.

Badley EM, Rasooly I, Webster GK. Relative importance of musculoskeletal disorders as a cause of chronic health problems, disability, and healthcare utilization: Findings from the 1990 Ontario Health Survey. J Rheumatol. 1994;3:505‑14.

Riihimaki H. Editorial: Hands up or back to work–future challenges in epidemiologic research on musculoskeletal diseases. Scand J Work Environ Health. 1995;21:401‑3.

Leijon M, Hensing G, Alexanderson K. Gender trends in sick listing with musculoskeletal symptoms in a Swedish county during a period of rapid increase in sickness absence. Scand J Soc Med. 1998;26:204‑13.

Kemmlert K. Labour inspectorate investigation for the prevention of occupational musculoskeletal injuries (licentiate thesis). Solna, Sweden: National institute of occupational health; 1994.

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work Fact Sheet. Available at: http://www.osha.europa. eu. Accessed 22 November 2018.

Sample size calculator. Available at: http://www. Accessed 15 December 2017.

Yasobant S, Rajkumar P. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders among health care professionals: A crosssectional assessment of risk factors in a tertiary hospital, India. Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2014;18:75-81.

Fritzsche. Occupational health risks of pathologists - results from a nationwide online questionnaire in Switzerland. BMC Public Health. 2012;12:1054.

Punnett L, Wegman DH. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders: the epidemiologic evidence and the debate. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2004;14(1):13–23.

Logan NS, Davies LN, Mallen EA, Gilmartin B. Ametropia and ocular biometry in a U.K. university student population. Optom Vis Sci. 2005;82(4):261–6.

Kinge B, Midelfart A, Jacobsen G. Refractive errors among young adults and university students in Norway. Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 1998;76(6):692–5.

Risovic DJ, Misailovic KR, Eric-Marinkovic JM, Kosanovic-Jakovic NG, Milenkovic SM, Petrovic LZ. Refractive errors and binocular dysfunctions in a population of university students. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2008;18(1):1–6.

Hendricks TJ, de Brabander J, Vankan-Hendricks MH, van der Horst FG, Hendrikse F, Knottnerus JA. Prevalence of habitual refractive errors and anisometropia among Dutch schoolchildren and hospital employees. Acta Ophthalmol. 2009;87(5):538–43.

Onal S, Toker E, Akingol Z, Arslan G, Ertan S, Turan C, Kaplan O. Refractive errors of medical students in Turkey: one-year follow-up of refraction and biometry. Optom Vis Sci. 2007;84(3):175–80.

Fehlsichtigkeiten (Ametropia). Available at: Accessed on 3 August 2018.

Korniushina TA: Physiological mechanisms of the etiology of visual fatigue during work involving visual stress. Vestn Oftalmol. 2000;116(4):33–6.

Mutti DO, Zadnik K. Is computer use a risk factor for myopia? J Am Optom Assoc. 1996;67(9):521–30.

Rosenfield M. Computer vision syndrome: a review of ocular causes and potential treatments. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2011;31(5):502–15.

Blehm C, Vishnu S, Khattak A, Mitra S, Yee RW. Computer vision syndrome: a review. Surv Ophthalmol. 2005;50(3):253–62.

Rosenfield M, Gilmartin B. Myopia and nearwork: causation or merely association? In: Myopia & Nearwork. Edited by Rosenfield M, Gilmartin B. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann; 1998: 193–206.

Lorusso A, Bruno S, Caputo F, L'Abbate N. Risk factors for musculoskeletal complaints among microscope workers. G Ital Med Lav Ergon. 2007;29(4):932–7.