A Predictive Model For Work Disability Among Aircraft Cabin Cleaners: A Retrospective Analysis of Occupational Injuries

Chun Lung So, L.K. Hung , P.P.Y Lui, K.M. Chan

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


Aims Occupational injuries represent a significant cost to industry and to the productive capacity of every industrialized nation. Aircraft cabin cleaning is a unique type of cleaning work characterized by a high concentration of physical activities in confined time, shift work and limited working space. This was the first retrospective study on injury pattern of aircraft cabin cleaners. The purpose of this study was to understand the characteristics of injuries of Hong Kong aircraft cabin cleaners and to investigate the potential risk factors that caused the injuries. Methods Information of Hong Kong aircraft cabin cleaners who have sustained musculoskeletal occupational injuries during the calendar years 2001 to 2006 were collected. The musculoskeletal injuries sustained during work were classified into four categories: Head & Neck, Upper limbs, Lower limbs, back. Information on worker’s demographic characteristics, the location and the injured regions were collected. The number of workdays lost was recorded. Descriptive statistical analysis was used to summarize different demographic data. Comparison was then made to evaluate the association of different factors (age, gender, injured body region, working experience, and working location) and workday loss. A predictive model was also developed to identify the contribution of the five selected independent variables: age, gender, working experience, injury body region and working location, on the workday loss. All statistical tests were done by SPSS for windows and the statistical significance was set at P<0.05. Results One-hundred and eighty-eight injured cleaners were identified from the local aircraft cabin service company’s databases. There were 216 cases of reported musculoskeletal disorders. 27 were males and 161 were females, with mean age of 43.1+/- 5.7 years old. The mean working experience upon injury was 38.4 months. Lower limb injury constituted the most prevalent region (73 cases, 38.8%), followed by head and neck injury (47 cases, 25%), upper limb injury (46 cases, 24.5%) & back injury (42 cases, 22.3%). 63.8% (120 cases) injured cleaners got injuries while working in the cabin, followed by ramp (34 cases,18.1%), apron (20 cases,10.6%), crew room (8 cases, 4.3%) and vehicle (6 cases, 3.2%). The total work-days loss was 2329.5 days. The mean day-loss of occupational musculoskeletal disorders was 12.3 days. Chi-square test indicated that the longer work experience has shorter claimed workdays lost (p=0.006) and less likely to have neck and head injury (p=0.016). Back and waist injury were more likely to cause 0-14 work days lost (p=0.003). The result indicated that age>40 were more likely to cause workday lost > 14 days (p=0.04). The results of multiple linear regression analysis found that in the case of occupational injury of aircraft cabin cleaners, older age, injured body region and work experience are significantly correlated with the number of days-loss. Conclusions This is the first study on the injury pattern of Hong Kong Aircraft Cabin Cleaners. Although our analysis has been limited to retrospective case studies and within pre-set data format, the results have practical implications. Our results indicated in contrast to younger workers, older workers experience a relatively low overall frequency of work-related injuries. However, older workers were more prone to having longer sick leave due to their relatively slow metabolism and healing process. Our results indicated that increase working experience may reduce the injury rate in work due to the proficiency in work procedures and tool usage. The age, work experience and the injury body part are the predictors of the workdays-loss of aircraft cabin cleaning occupation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2007
EventSixth International Scientific Conference on Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders - The Conference Center at Harvard Medical, Boston, United States
Duration: 27 Aug 20071 Sept 2007


ConferenceSixth International Scientific Conference on Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders
Abbreviated titlePREMUS2007
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Work disability prevention
  • Ergonomics


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