Prevalence and risk factors for work related musculoskeletal disorders in flight attendants

Revati V. Mulay, Anand Gangwal, Ashok K. Shyam, Parag K. Sancheti


Background: Flight attendants are the cabin crew members working in different commercial airlines. Their main job is to ensure safety and comfort of all the passengers. They are exposed to certain ergonomic stressors like long standing, irregular working hours and working in confined spaces and thus are likely to experience work related musculoskeletal disorders. The purpose of this study was to find out the prevalence and risk factors for work related musculoskeletal disorders in flight attendants.

Methods: A survey-based study was performed. Self-made questionnaire was used and was validated by 3 experts in the Physiotherapy field. Workplace stress scale was also used to determine the level of mental stress that they experience. Informed consent was taken by each flight attendant participating in the study. Questionnaire was given to flight attendants working for different airlines like Spice Jet, Air India and Jet Airways. Hard copy of the questionnaire and online forms of the questionnaire were used to complete the data collection.

Results: A total of 82% flight attendants reported to have work related pain in one or more body regions. Pain was commonly reported in feet and ankle, lower back and neck. Common risk factors were lack of rest breaks, prolonged standing/long working hours, wearing heels and mental stress.

Conclusions: Thus, the study shows high prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders in flight attendants.


Flight attendants, Musculoskeletal, Disorders

Full Text:



Cabin Managers - Corporate. Available at: Accessed on 3 January 2019.

Occupational Outlook Handbook, Flight Attendants - Nature of Work". U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Available at: Accessed on 22 August 2012.

Saenz, Rogelio and Evans, Louwanda (June 2009) "The Changing Demography of U.S. Flight Attendants". Population Reference Bureau. Accessed on 16 July 2015.

Available at: careers/work-related-musculoskeletal-disorders/ what-are-wrmsds. Accessed on 20th February 2019.

Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace. Occupational Safety and Health Administration 2016. Available at: https://www. Accessed July 17, 2016.

Available at: causdis/musculoskeletal/msd.pdf. Accessed July 17, 2018.

Available at: resources/flight-attendant-job-description. Accessed on 20th February 2019.

Lee H. Work Related Musculoskeletal disorders in female flight attendants on long haul international flights. J Aviation Space Med. 2006.

Barnish M, Barnish J. High heeled shoes and musculoskeletal injuries: A narrative Systematic review, British Med J. 2016;6(1):e010053.

Available at: ergonomics/standing/standing_basic.html. Accessed on 20 February 2019.

Musculoskeletal disorders and the workplace. Low back and upper extremities, Flor and Turk, 1989.