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FOTO Rehab Outcomes Blog

Green Collar Workers and Acute Joint Pain

I had no idea there was a new category in the employment world. I had to look up "green collar workers." For rehabilitation professionals, this category adds a bit of subjective questions. These workers are focused on a particular final goal: a green world. An employment category like this does not immediately create a picture in our minds of what the general job duties entail.

In looking at the findings from the study comparing green collar workers to non-green collar workers, in my opinion, there really isn't that big of a difference. I wonder if the findings would be different if there were three categories of comparison: green, blue and white? What I do see as a difference, these individuals may need rehabilitation professionals to be their advocate after a work related injury (based on the information in the above link).

Below you will find a quick view of the abstract. 


Acute joint pain in the emerging green collar workforce: Evidence from the linked National Health Interview Survey and Occupational Information Network (O*NET).




Green jobs are a rapidly emerging category of very heterogeneous occupations that typically involve engagement with new technologies and changing job demands predisposing them to physical stressors that may contribute to the development of joint pain.


We estimated and compared the prevalence of self-reported acute (past 30 days) joint pain between green and non-green collar workers using pooled 2004-2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data linked to the Occupational Information Network Database (O*NET).


Green collar workers have a higher prevalence of acute joint pain as compared to non-green collar workers. Green collar workers with pain in the upper extremity joints were significantly greater than in the non-green collar workforce, for example, right shoulder [23.2% vs 21.1%], right elbow [13.7% vs 12.0%], left shoulder [20.1% vs 18.2%], and left elbow [12.0% vs 10.7%].


Acute joint pain reported by the emerging green collar workforce can assist in identifying at risk worker subgroups for musculoskeletal pain interventions.

2017 Jun;60(6):518-528. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22710.