The variation in hospital admission rates was studied for back disorders by industry and occupational title among gainfully employed Finns.
Admissions to Finnish hospitals in 1996 among 25- to 64-year-olds, based on the Hospital Discharge Register, were linked with sociodemographic data from the 1995 population census for the following primary diagnoses [International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10)]: all back disorders (M40.0-54.9; N (individual patients) 7,253), lumbar intevertebral disc disorders (M51.0-M51.9, N = 3,863), and other common back disorders (ICD-10: M47.1-47.2, M47.8-47.9, M48.0, M54.1, M54.3-54.5, M54.8-54.9; N = 2,433), with the total occupationally active workforce (same age range and gender) as reference. Age-standardized hospitalization rate ratios (SRR) were calculated.
The highest SRR values for hospitalization for any back disorder were found for fishing (SRR 195), "other" mining and carrying (SRR 168), and sewage and refuse disposal (SRR 152) among the men and water transport (SRR 158), wood product (SRR 149) and pulp, paper and paper product (SRR 145) manufacturing among the women. Computer activities (SRR 44) among the men and insurance and pension funding (SRR49) among the women had the lowest SRR values. The occupations reindeer breeders and herders (SRR 495), agricultural workers (SRR 232), and paper product workers (SRR 205) among the men and plastic product (SRR 233), laundry (SRR 224), and agricultural (SRR 219) workers among the women had the highest SRR values. The lowest SRR values were observed for upper white-collar employees in public administration [men (SRR 40) and women (SRR 61)].
Hospitalization rates for back disorders were high for several physically strenuous industries and occupations.