Ergonomic Conditions and Health at Gender Segregated Workplaces

Lena Karlqvist1, *, Gunvor Gard1, 2
1 Department of Health Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, SE-971 87 Luleå, Sweden
2 Department of Health Sciences, Lund University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden

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Gard et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of health sciences, Luleå University of Technology, SE-971 87 Luleå, Sweden; Tel: +46 72 5390645; E-mail:



To investigate working conditions and health at gender segregated (most women, ≥ 60% women or most men, ≥ 60% men) workplaces with a focus on associations of ergonomic exposures with musculoskeletal disorders.


A comprehensive questionnaire was randomly sent to 10 000 inhabitants in three municipalities in the middle of Sweden. The response rate was 50% (4965 men and women). Organisational, physical and psychosocial working conditions and the musculoskeletal symptom panorama as well as general health and psychological well-being were compared between men and women in the gender segregated workplaces.


There were significant differences in working conditions between men and women both in female and male dominated workplaces. Most differences concerned physical work environment factors at both workplaces. However, the level of low control and strain were more prevalent among women in male dominated workplaces. A significantly greater share of women, compared to men, reported symptoms in all body parts except in low back and knees at both workplaces. Good general health was reported by 80% of both men and women but men in male dominated workplaces perceived significantly better psychological well-being than the others.


Women and men in this region performed different work tasks and a greater share of women than men reported musculoskeletal symptoms. This was the fact also when working in the same type of segregated workplaces.

Keywords: Gender segregated, musculoskeletal symptoms, organisation, work environment.