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Title: A Time series analysis of physical ability among Eskom distribution's powerline electricians
Authors: Malangu, N.
Ngqangweni, Bongiwe
Keywords: Physical fitness
Physical endurance
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: University of Limpopo (Medunsa Campus)
Abstract: Physical Ability Analysis (PAA) is a physical work capacity indicator for the health and wellbeing of the organisational workforce. Employees doing powerline work and similarly physically demanding positions are assessed using a battery of tests called the physical ability analysis (PAA), inclusive of a cardiovascular test component, a strength component for upper body and lower body, the endurance component, and a record of health problems. The results are classified into five categories that are indicative of their physical work ability. It is therefore crucial that a high level of physical capacity is maintained to ensure a sustainable workforce. Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the physical ability and common health problems among powerline electricians in Eskom Distribution over time, and determine the extent to which variations, if any exist, could be explained by the socio-demographic characteristics, health problems or lifestyle habits. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of Eskom Distribution’s powerline electricians was done using occupational medical records found in the institutional database for the period of 2003, 2005 and 2008. Results: A total of 50 records meeting the selection criteria were analyzed. At the time of the study, the power line electricians were old as 94% of them were over 50 years old, overweight (46%), and suffering from chronic conditions such as hypertension (22%), diabetes (8%). In addition, 19% suffered from back injuries, 2% from knee injuries, while 32% smoked cigarettes. Given their health profile, they became sicker for longer periods as reflected by the increasing number of sick leave days (95% of the cases that took leave had hypertension). The physical ability levels improved from baseline (46%) to 62% in 2008. A shift of PAA2 participants in the 47 – 51year age group was the reason for the increase and the youngest group of electricians remained in PAA category 1 throughout the study period. Muscle function was a strong predictor for meeting the required physical ability level, most measurements that were significantly associated with physical ability score, leg strength, noted as the strongest predictor among them (OR 123.00; p = 0.00, 95% CI, 9.22-1573.00), followed by abdominal endurance (OR 43.49; p = 0.01, 95% CI, 2.49-786.13) and grip strength of the right hands, with similar odds to the abdominal strength (OR 41.00; p = 0.00, 95% CI, 3.65-461.04) with back strength at (OR 28.50; p = 0.01, 95% CI, 2.37-342.61). Conclusion: With regard to physical ability, the study concludes that age is a strong predictor for physical ability as the youngest group ( 49years old) of electricians remained in PAA1 throughout the study period, and were approximately four times likely to meet the required 12 physical ability standard than their older counterparts and that regular physical assessment and rehabilitation have been effective in maintaining the physical ability of electricians.
Description: Thesis (MPH)--University of Limpopo, 2010.
Appears in Collections:Theses and Dissertations (Public Health)

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