OBJECTIVE: To estimate the hazard ratio for disability pension associated with shift work. METHODS: Cohorts of shift and day workers were identified in three waves of the Danish Work Environment Cohort Study and followed up for incidence of disability pension in a national register of social transfer payment. A total of 3980 female and 4025 male employees were included in the cohorts. Information about shift work status, age, smoking habits, body mass index and ergonomic work environment were updated according to responses in subsequent waves of the survey when possible. Respondents reporting shift work were classified as shift workers in the following waves as well. Respondents were followed in the register from the time of first interview and were censored at the time of their 60th birthday, emigration, death or end of follow-up (18 June 2006). The authors used the Cox proportional hazards model to estimate hazard ratios for incidence of disability pension and 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS: The authors observed 253 new disability pensions among women and 173 among men during 56 903 and 57 886 person-years at risk respectively, Among women, shift work predicted disability after adjustment for age, general health and socioeconomic status HR 1.39 (95% CI 1.07 to 1.82). After further adjustment for body mass index, smoking habits, socioeconomic status and ergonomic exposures the association remained statistically significant HR 1.34 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.75). Shift work was not associated with disability among men. CONCLUSION: Shift work might be moderately associated with disability pension among women; however, more powerful studies are needed to establish the possible association.
OBJECTIVES: To describe workers with low back symptoms, to identify risk factors and to assess the occupational consequences separately in men and women. METHODS: A descriptive study was conducted between 1 October 1996 and 31 December 1996 in a sample of workers selected at random from all types of small companies in the Paris area. A group of 202 occupational physicians interviewed 7129 workers with a standardised questionnaire including the Nordic questionnaire. Data analysis was performed by sex in the two groups: with low back pain and without low back pain over the previous 12 months. The group with low back pain was then divided into four subgroups: mild cases (without referred pain), moderate cases (with referred pain above the knee), serious cases (with referred pain below the knee), and low back pain with occupational consequences. RESULTS: 7010 questionnaires were able to be evaluated. The sample consisted of 54.8% of men (3842) and 45.2% of women (3168), with a mean age of 37.8 and 37.0 years, respectively (p 10 kg, in women (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.27 to 2.25) and in men (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.53), uncomfortable working positions (OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.58 to 2.17 and OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.69 to 2.43), and absence of means to achieve good quality work (OR 1.39, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.63 and OR 1.38, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.65), respectively. Driving was a risk factor only in men and its importance increased with driving time (driving > 4 hours a day (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.09)). Severe low back pain was linked to female sex (10.2% of women v 6.6% of men), high BMI, aging, and uncomfortable working positions. Low back pain with occupational consequences (n = 258) was not linked to sex, but only to aging and severity. CONCLUSIONS: The incidence and severity of low back pain were higher in women, although they seemed to be less exposed to known occupational risk factors. However, our results indicate a preponderance of these risk factors among female workers. Particular attention must therefore be paid to lifting of weights and uncomfortable working positions in female jobs (clerk, trading, health care staff).
A study was performed of vibration disease prevalence and morbidity dynamics for 10 years at the enterprises of the RSFSR Ministry of Machine-Building Industry. The results of the study proved that the major VD prevalence was found in automobile, heavy and energy machinery industries, machine-tool and agriculture machinery industry (80%). With regard to the morbidity rate and duration of work/D morbidity correlation, the contributors identified 8 major VD-risk professions, including those for female workers, an earlier development of the disease being more characteristic of females in some professional groups. It was established that some are less/or more liable to VD in comparison with others of the same professional group, which can be accounted for by different individual factors that influence the latent development of the disease. The revealed differences can determine the most promising techniques in VD prevention at machine-engineering plants.
Differential risks of occupational injuries by gender have been examined across various industries. With the number of employees in healthcare rising and an overwhelming proportion of this workforce being female, it is important to address this issue in this growing sector.
To determine whether compensated work-related injuries among females are higher than their male colleagues in the British Columbia healthcare sector.
Incidents of occupational injury resulting in compensated days lost from work over a 1-year period for all healthcare workers were extracted from a standardized operational database and the numbers of productive hours were obtained from payroll data. Injuries were grouped into all injuries and musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs). Detailed analysis was conducted using Poisson regression modelling.
A total of 42 332 employees were included in the study of whom 11% were male and 89% female. When adjusted for age, occupation, sub-sector, employment category, health region and facility, female workers had significantly higher risk of all injuries [rate ratio (95% CI) = 1.58 (1.24-2.01)] and MSIs [1.43 (1.11-1.85)] compared to their male colleagues.
Occupational health and safety initiatives should be gender sensitive and developed accordingly.
Comment In: Occup Med (Lond). 2009 May;59(3):13719396939
The natural history and etiology of malignant mesothelioma (MM) is already thoroughly described in the literature, but there is still debate on prognostic factors, and details of asbestos exposure and possible context with clinical and demographic data, have not been investigated comprehensively.
Description of patients with MM, focusing on exposure, occupation, survival and prognostic factors.
Review of medical records of patients with MM from 1984 to 2010 from a Danish Occupational clinic. Survival was estimated using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and prognostic factors were identified by Cox regression analysis.
110 (90.2%) patients were male, and 12 (9.8%) were female. The median (interquartile rang [IQR]) age was 65 (13) years. Pleural MM was seen in 101 (82.8%) patients, and peritoneal in 11 (9.0%); two (1.6%) had MM to tunica vaginalis testis, and eight (6.6%) to multiple serosal surfaces. We found 68 (55.7%) epithelial tumors, 26 (21.3%) biphasic, and 6 (4.9%) sarcomatoid. 12 (9.8%) patients received tri-modal therapy, 66 (54.1%) received one-/two-modality treatment, and 36 (29.5%) received palliative care. Asbestos exposure was confirmed in 107 (91.0%) patients, probable in four (3.3%), and unidentifiable in 11 (9.0%). The median (IQR) latency was 42 (12.5) years. Exposure predominantly occurred in shipyards. The median overall survival was 1.05 (95% CI: 0.96-1.39) years; 5-year survival was 5.0% (95% CI: 2.0%-13.0%). Female sex, good WHO performance status (PS), epithelial histology and tri-modal treatment were associated with a favorable prognosis.
MM continuously presents a difficult task diagnostically and therapeutically, and challenges occupational physicians with regard to identification and characterization of asbestos exposure.
To assess the prevalence of a historical occupational component to asthma in an adult asthma clinic and to compare characteristics of asthmatic subjects with and without work-attributed symptoms.
A retrospective review of data obtained from a physician-administered questionnaire, answers to which were obtained at the initial patient visit of asthmatic subjects, and which included specific questions regarding the relationship of work to symptoms. Chart review data were used to supplement information on workplace exposures and investigations.
A university-based secondary- and tertiary-referral asthma clinic.
Seven hundred thirty-one adult asthmatic subjects who were referred for assessment and management of asthma.
Statistical analyses of asthmatic subjects with and without work-attributed symptoms and a determination, from chart review, of the likelihood of causes for symptomatic worsening of asthma at work.
Sixty percent of the patients (435) had adult onset of asthma, among whom 310 patients (71%) were employed at the time of their visit. Fifty-one patients reported their asthma to be worse at work (ie, 16% of adult-onset working asthmatic subjects). Sixteen of these patients (31%) had likely or possible sensitizer-induced occupational asthma (OA), and 49% likely had aggravation of underlying asthma. The other 20% of patients had possible OA or aggravation of underlying asthma at work.
Adult-onset asthmatic subjects commonly report a worsening of asthma at work, more commonly on the basis of likely aggravation of underlying asthma than on the basis of likely or possible OA.
BACKGROUND: Segregation of men and women into different jobs is often cited as one of the most plausible explanations for gender differences in exposure and musculoskeletal disorders. METHODS: Direct measurements of sitting, arm, and trunk postures were taken with two different technical instruments on 156 subjects (78 matched pairs of one female and one male worker) over one full workday in diverse labor markets. RESULTS: Exposure differences between workers were strongly associated with vertical occupational segregation (measured as level of status/authority). The results showed that this association was strongest for female-dominated jobs. Workers in female-dominated jobs with a low status/authority experienced longer duration in standing posture (P = 0.001), and higher frequency of arm elevation (P = 0.028 and 0.040 for the dominant and the non-dominant arm, respectively). They also had longer duration of work with bent trunk compared to corresponding workers with high status/authority (P = 0.035). The association was less pronounced for male-dominated jobs, and no such association was found for gender-integrated jobs. CONCLUSION: The findings have implications for prevention as well as for future research.
105 factory workers (38 females and 67 males) have been questioned about their frequency of back pain. 60% of the females and 61% of the males have previously experienced episodes of back pain. 21% of the females and 37% of the males have been absent from work due to back pain. The incidence of back pain is not related to age, height, sort of work, or isometric muscle strength of the back (IS). For the males the incidence rises with increasing weight, i.e. combination of height and obesity, but is not related to any two single factors. For the females there is no correlation between the incidence of pain and weight. IS is correlated to height and age in the males but not in the females. Standards for IS are presented and suggested as a guide to evaluation of the working capabilities of individual subjects with back pain.