A comprehensive system for the early rehabilitation of personnel has been developed and practised within the Finnish State administration since 1989. The rehabilitation process can be initiated as soon as the working capacity of a person or work community is threatened but is not yet seriously impaired. Rehabilitation is principally carried out on an outpatient basis alongside ordinary work. The aim of the study was to evaluate the outcomes and processes of early rehabilitation. The research data comprised several thousands of cases and consisted of a cross-sectional and a follow-up survey and a register-based follow-up. The surveys showed that during the rehabilitation period the average performance of the participants began to match that of the better-off non-participants, especially with respect to their general working capacity, mental well-being and occurrence of musculoskeletal problems. The sense of coherence rose in both groups, which can be partly attributed to positive changes in the workplace. In the group process, there also proved to be many factors contributing to achievement of the participants' rehabilitation objectives. The register-based follow-up showed that rehabilitation had a positive effect on average longer-term morbidity. In the cases of early retirement, the average retirement age of early rehabilitation participants was considerably higher than the average for the State sector as a whole. A system of outpatient early rehabilitation, where the rehabilitation programme and the development of working circumstances progress side by side, proved to give encouraging results at very moderate cost.
Mortality parameters among able-bodied individuals engaged into nonferrous metallurgy due to cardiovascular, respiratory diseases and malignancies several times exceed the analogous parameters among general population residing in the same climate (5.4, 4.9 and 3.6 times respectively). High mortality due to malignancies among the workers exposed to nonferrous metals does not match the data by official statistics declaring the occupational malignancies rate over 400 times lower than the mortality parameter. Such gap between actual and official statistics could result from inadequate occupational medical service for these workers.
This study evaluated the mortality experience of workers from the styrene-butadiene industry.
The authors added seven years of follow up to a previous investigation of mortality among 17 924 men employed in the North American synthetic rubber industry. Analyses used the standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) to compare styrene-butadiene rubber workers' cause specific mortality (1943-98) with those of the United States and the Ontario general populations.
Overall, the observed/expected numbers of deaths were 6237/7242 for all causes (SMR = 86, 95% CI 84 to 88) and 1608/1741 for all cancers combined (SMR = 92, 95% CI 88 to 97), 71/61 for leukaemia, 53/53 for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and 26/27 for multiple myeloma. The 16% leukaemia increase was concentrated in hourly paid subjects with 20-29 years since hire and 10 or more years of employment in the industry (19/7.4, SMR = 258, 95% CI 156 to 403) and in subjects employed in polymerisation (18/8.8, SMR = 204, 95% CI 121 to 322), maintenance labour (15/7.4, SMR = 326, 95% CI 178 to 456), and laboratory operations (14/4.3, SMR = 326, 95% CI 178-546).
The study found that some subgroups of synthetic rubber workers had an excess of mortality from leukaemia that was not limited to a particular form of leukaemia. Uncertainty remains about the specific agent(s) that might be responsible for the observed excesses and about the role of unidentified confounding factors. The study did not find any clear relation between employment in the industry and other forms of lymphohaematopoietic cancer. Some subgroups of subjects had more than expected deaths from colorectal and prostate cancers. These increases did not appear to be related to occupational exposure in the industry.
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To test the hypothesis that manual workers are at higher risk of death than are non-manual employees when living in municipalities with higher income inequality.
Hierarchical regression was used for the analysis were individuals were nested within municipalities according to the 1990 Swedish census. The outcome was all-cause mortality 1992-1998. The income measure at the individual level was disposable family income weighted against composition of family; the income inequality measure used at the municipality level was the Gini coefficient.
The study population consisted of 1 578 186 people aged 40-64 years in the 1990 Swedish census, who were being reported as unskilled or skilled manual workers, lower-, intermediate-, or high-level non-manual employees.
There was no significant association between income inequality at the municipality level and risk of death, but an expected gradient with unskilled manual workers having the highest risk and high-level non-manual employees having the lowest. However, in the interaction models the relative risk (RR) of death for high-level non-manual employees was decreasing with increasing income inequality (RR = 0.77; 95% CI, 0.63-0.93), whereas the corresponding risk for unskilled manual workers increased with increasing income inequality (RR = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.06-1.46). The RRs for skilled manual, low- and medium- level non-manual employees were not significant. Controlling for income at the individual level did not substantially alter these findings, neither did potential confounders at the municipality level.
The findings suggest that there could be a differential impact from income inequality on risk of death, dependent on individuals' social position.
Asbestos has been widely used in the refinery and petrochemical sector. Mesothelioma has occurred among maintenance employees, and it was hypothesized that mesothelioma is a marker for exposures which might increase lung cancer risk. A death certificate-based case-control study of mesothelioma and lung cancer from 1980 to 1992 was conducted in an Ontario county with a substantial presence of these industries. Each of the 17 men who died of mesothelioma and 424 with lung cancer were matched with controls who died of other causes. The Job and Industry fields on the death certificates were abstracted. Employment as a maintenance worker in the refinery and petrochemical sector was associated with an increased risk of mesothelioma (odds ratio: 24.5; 90% confidence interval 3.1-102). The risk of lung cancer among petrochemical workers, in comparison with all other workers in the county, was 0.88. In an internal comparison of maintenance employees with other blue-collar workers in the refinery and petrochemical sector, the odds ratio for lung cancer was 1.73 (90% confidence interval 0.83-3.6). This finding is consistent with no difference in risk between maintenance and other employees, but it is also compatible with study power being too low to achieve statistical significance. The hypothesis of increased lung cancer risk could be examined more fully with nested case-control studies in existing cohorts. Meanwhile, it would be prudent to reinforce adherence to asbestos control measures in the refinery and petrochemical sector.
The objective of the present study was to investigate mortality attributable to asthma in different occupations. The mortality from asthma among Swedish workers between 1981 and 1992 was investigated by a linkage between official mortality statistics and the occupational information in the 1980 National Census. For each occupation, a smoking-adjusted standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was calculated. The information about smoking habits was obtained from smoking surveys carried out from 1977 to 1979. Only occupations with more than five cases were considered in the analysis. Significantly increased mortality from asthma was found among male farmers (smoking-adjusted SMR = 146; 95% confidence interval [CI] 105-187) and male professional drivers (smoking-adjusted SMR = 144, 95% CI = 101-209) and female hairdressers (smoking-adjusted SMR = 332, 95% CI = 102-525). The increased mortality among three occupational groups (hairdressers, farmers, and professional drivers) out of 46 groups analyzed may be random occurrences. However, farmers and hairdressers are exposed to agents causing asthma, indicating that the increased mortality may be attributable to occupational exposure.
OBJECTIVES: It is well known that pulmonary function is associated with all-cause and cardiovascular (CV) death. Less is known about the association between respiratory symptoms and mortality and whether such an association is independent of physical fitness. In this study, we assessed the association of breathlessness and productive cough with CV and all-cause mortality over 26 years. DESIGN: Prospective occupational cohort study. SETTING AND SUBJECTS: In 1972-75, 1999 apparently healthy men aged 40-59 years were recruited to the study from five companies in Oslo, Norway. At study entry clinical, physiological and biochemical parameters including respiratory symptoms, spirometry, and an objective assessment of physical fitness were measured in all subjects, of whom 1,623 had acceptable spirometry. The data was analysed using Cox proportional hazards analysis, adjusting for age, lung function, physical fitness, and other possible confounders, with mortality until 2000. RESULTS: After 26 years (range 25-27), 615 men (38%) had died, of whom 308 (50%) from CV deaths. In multivariable proportional hazards models, 'having phlegm winter mornings' [hazard ratio (HR) 1.30, P = 0.01], 'breathlessness when hurrying/walking uphill' (HR 1.43, P = 0.005) and combinations of the two symptoms remained significant predictors of all-cause mortality. None of six respiratory symptoms were significant predictors of CV mortality in multivariable models. CONCLUSIONS: Phlegm, breathlessness and combinations of them were associated with all-cause mortality, even after adjusting for physical fitness, known CV and other risk factors such as smoking, and lung function. The finding of an association also after adjustment for physical fitness is new. In contrast, none of the six respiratory symptoms individually or in combination were associated with CV mortality in multivariable analysis.
This is a cohort study of the mortality among chimney sweeps in Copenhagen, Denmark, during 1958-77. Nearly all the chimney sweeps started in the trade around the age of 15, and so this age gives the time of first exposure to the environmental conditions of the trade. The analysis applies a continuous time model with stratification by cause of death (cancer, non-cancer), time and age, where cumulative mortality rates are derived from current mortality tables. For each stratum of interest the observed/expected mortality ratio (O/E ratio) is calculated and a test performed, based on the normal distribution. The main result is a significantly higher cancer mortality for the 40-69 year age class compared with the population at large (O/E ratio = 3.9).