Mental disorders are a key cause of sickness absence (SA) and challenge prolonging working careers. Thus, evidence on the development of SA trends is needed. In this study, educational differences in long SAs due to mental disorders were examined in two age groups among employees of the City of Helsinki from 2004 to 2013.
All permanently and temporarily employed staff aged 18-34 and 35-49 were included in the analyses (n=~27800 per year). SA spells of =14 days due to mental disorders were examined annually. Education was classified to higher and lower levels. Joinpoint regression was used to identify major turning points in SA trends.
Joinpoint regression models showed that lower educated groups had more long SAs spells due to mental disorders than those groups with higher education. SA trends decreased during the study period in all studied age and educational groups. Lower educated age groups had similar SA trends. Younger employees with higher education had the fewest SAs.
A clear educational gradient was found in long SAs due to mental disorders during the study period. SA trends decreased from 2004 to 2013.
Sick-leave between 1984 and 1989 was higher among both female (n = 515) and male (n = 304) fish-processing workers [observed/expected (O/E) 2.24 and 1.69, respectively] than among non-exposed groups (0.62 and 0.89). Diagnoses in the musculoskeletal system dominated (i.e., neck/upper limbs; females, exposed vs. non-exposed workers: 30 vs. 12%; males: 11 vs. 5.8%). In subjects who left employment, the O/E-ratio decreased (females: 3.02 vs. 1.55; males: 2.40 vs. 1.55). Among those women hired before the start of the observation period, exposed subjects had higher frequencies of sick-leave than non-exposed, for both total illness and musculoskeletal diagnoses. In the men, there were corresponding differences, though not fully statistically significant. Reported occupational diseases [O/E: females: 4.5; (95% confidence interval) CI = 3.2-6.1; males: 2.3; CI = 1.3-3.9] and accidents (females: 4.3; CI = 3.0-5.9; males: 1.8; CI = 1.2-2.7) were also higher in female than in male fish-processing workers, and much higher than in non-exposed workers. In conclusion, work in the fish-processing industry was associated with increased frequencies of sick-leave, especially because of diagnoses of the musculoskeletal system, and occupational disorders and accidents, in particular among female workers.
This is a study of the relationship between occupational exposure to magnetic fields in pot rooms and occurrence of sick leave caused by musculoskeletal disorders. The average exposure to static magnetic fields was 8 mT in the pot rooms. Ripple fields were recorded as well. A cohort of 342 exposed workers and 222 unexposed workers from the same electrolysis plant was retrospectively followed for 5 years. The reference group had a type of work similar to the exposed group except for the exposure to magnetic fields. The occurrence of sick leave and the diagnoses causing the sick leave were obtained from the Occupational Health Care Unit: these data were stored in their computer files. The data were complete. No relationship between the occurrence of sick leave caused by musculoskeletal disorders and exposure to magnetic fields was found. This was the case for both the annual number of periods of sick leave and the total number of days with sick leave. The results must be interpreted with caution due to limitations in the design and available data. Also, static magnetic fields constituted the major exposure, and the results may be different when related to work in other types of magnetic-field exposure.
The effects of workplace interventions on sickness absence are poorly understood, in particular in ageing workers.
To analyse the effects of a senior programme on sickness absence among blue-collar food industry workers of a food company in Finland.
We followed up 129 employees aged 55 years or older, who participated in a senior programme (intervention group), and 229 employees of the same age from the same company who did not participate (control group). Total sickness absence days and spells of 1-3, 4-7, 8-21 and >21 days were recorded for the members of the intervention group from the year before joining the programme and for the control group starting at age 54 years. Both groups were followed for up to 6 years.
The median number of sickness absence days per person-year increased significantly from baseline in both groups during the follow-up. Compared with the control group, the intervention group had increased risk for 1-3 days spells [rate ratio 1.34 (1.21-1.48)] and 4-7 days spells [rate ratio 1.23 (1.07-1.41)], but the risk for >21 days spells was decreased [rate ratio 0.68 (0.53-0.88)] after participation in the senior programme.
A programme to enhance individual work well-being in ageing workers may increase short-term but reduce long-term sickness absence.
There is limited knowledge about what happens to people after long-term sick leave. The aim of this report was to conduct a prospective study of individuals who were on prolonged sick leave during a particular year, considering their activities and sources of income during subsequent years. To enable comparison of different time periods, we used three cohorts of individuals with different starting years.
Using data from national registers, three separate cohorts were constructed that included all people living in Sweden who were 20-64 years of age (>5 million) in the years 1995, 2000 and 2005, respectively. The individual members of the cohorts were classified into the following groups based on their main source of income and activity in 1995-2008: on long-term sick leave, employed, old-age pensioner, long-term unemployed, disability pensioner, on parental leave, social assistance recipient, student allowance recipient, deceased, or emigrated.
Most individuals on long-term (> 6 months) sick leave in 1995 were not employed 13 years later. Only 11% of the women and 13% of the men were primarily in employment after 13 years. Instead, a wide range of alternatives existed, for example, many had been granted disability pension, and about 10% of the women and 17% of the men had died during the follow-up period. A larger proportion of those with long-term sick leave were back in employment when 2005 was the starting year for the follow-up.
The low future employment rates for people on long-term sick leave may seem surprising. There are several possible explanations for the finding: The disorders these people may have, might have entailed longstanding difficulties on the labor market. Besides, long-term absence from work, no matter what its causes were, might have worsen the chances of further employment. The economic cycles may also have been of importance. The improving labor market during later years seems to have improved the chances for employment among those earlier on long-term sick leave.
Cites: J Epidemiol Community Health. 2009 Jan;63(1):50-519039005
Cites: Eur J Public Health. 2008 Jun;18(3):224-3118245150
To investigate associations between acts of offensive behaviour (threats, violence, bullying, and unwanted sexual attention) and risk of long-term sickness absence for eight or more consecutive weeks among female staff in the Danish elder-care services.
These associations were investigated using Cox regression analysis. Data consisted of a merger between Danish survey data collected among 9,520 female employees in the Danish elder-care services and register data on sickness absence compensation.
Compared to unexposed employees, employees frequently exposed to threats (HR = 1.52, 95% CI:1.11-2.07), violence (HR = 1.54, 95% CI:1.06-2.25), and bullying (HR = 2.33, 95% CI:1.55-3.51) had significantly increased risk of long-term sickness absence when adjusting for age, job function, tenure, BMI, smoking status, and psychosocial work conditions. When mutually adjusting for the four types of offensive behaviours, only bullying remained significantly associated with risk of long-term sickness absence (HR = 2.26, 95% CI: 1.50-3.42). No significant associations were found between unwanted sexual attention and risk for long-term sickness absence.
Results indicate that prevention of threats, violence, and bullying may contribute to reduced sickness absence among elder-care staff. The results furthermore suggest that work organizations must be attentive on how to handle and prevent acts of offensive behaviour and support targets of offensive behaviours.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether acupuncture has a greater treatment effect than non-penetrating sham acupuncture in women with pelvic girdle pain (PGP) during pregnancy. DESIGN: Randomised double-blinded controlled trial. SETTING: East Hospital, Gothenburg, and 25 antenatal primary care units in the region of Västra Götaland, Sweden. POPULATION: A total of 115 pregnant women with a clinical diagnosis of PGP who scored > or =50 on a 100-mm visual analogue scale (VAS). METHOD: Women were randomly allocated to standard treatment plus acupuncture or to standard treatment plus non-penetrating sham acupuncture for 8 weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Main outcome measure was pain. Secondary outcomes were frequency of sick leave, functional status, discomfort of PGP, health-related quality of life and recovery of severity of PGP as assessed by the independent examiner. RESULTS: After treatment, median pain decreased from 66 to 36 in the acupuncture group and from 69 to 41 in the non-penetrating sham group (P = 0.493) as assessed on a VAS. Women in the acupuncture group were in regular work to a higher extent than women in the sham group (n = 28/57 versus 16/57, P = 0.041). The acupuncture group had superior ability to perform daily activities measured with the disability rating index (DRI) (44 versus 55, P = 0.001). There were no significant differences in quality of life, discomfort of PGP and recovery from severity of PGP between the groups. CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture had no significant effect on pain or on the degree of sick leave compared with non-penetrating sham acupuncture. There was some improvement in performing daily activities according to DRI. The data imply that needle penetration contributes to a limited extent to the previously reported beneficial effects of acupuncture.
This study investigates whether the two dimensions of illness flexibility at work, adjustment latitude and attendance requirements are associated to sickness absence and sickness attendance. Adjustment latitude describes the opportunities people have to reduce or in other ways change their work-effort when ill. Such opportunities can be to choose among work tasks or work at a slower pace. Attendance requirements describe negative consequences of being away from work that can affect either the subject, work mates or a third party. In a cross-sectional design data based on self-reports from a questionnaire from 4924 inhabitants in the county of Stockholm were analysed. The results showed that low adjustment latitude, as predicted, increased women's sickness absence. However, it did not show any relation to men's sickness absence and men's and women's sickness attendance. Attendance requirements were strongly associated to both men's and women's sickness absence and sickness attendance in the predicted way. Those more often required to attend were less likely to be absent and more likely to attend work at illness. As this is the first study of how illness flexibility at work affects behaviour at illness, it was concluded that more studies are needed.
This study aimed to quantify how much of the adult social gradient in sick leave can be attributed to the mediating role of physical workload while accounting for the role of childhood and adolescent social position and neuroticism.
Our sample consisted of 2099 women and 1229 men from a Norwegian birth cohort study (born 1967-1976) who participated in the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (2006-2008) (HUNT3). Data on sick leave (defined as >16 calendar days; 2006-2009) and social position during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood were obtained from national registers. Study outcome was time-to-first sick leave spell. Physical workload and neuroticism were self-reported in HUNT3. Mediating effects through physical workload were estimated using a method based on the additive hazards survival model.
A hypothetical change from highest to lowest group in adult social position was, for women, associated with 51.6 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 24.7-78.5] additional spells per 100,000 person-days at risk, in a model adjusted for childhood and adolescent social position and neuroticism. The corresponding rate increase for men was 41.1 (95% CI 21.4-60.8). Of these additional spells, the proportion mediated through physical workload was 24% (95% CI 10-49) and 30% (95% CI 10-63) for women and men, respectively.
The effect of adult social position on sick leave was partly mediated through physical workload, even while accounting for earlier life course factors. Our findings provide support that interventions aimed at reducing physical workload among those with lower adult social position could reduce sick leave risk.