Room for everyone in working life? 10% of the employees – 82% of the sickness leave
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Aims: The aims of this project were to study the distribution of sickness leave in a population of Norwegian power company workers, and to characterise those with most sickness leave. Method: A survey was done in 13 power companies during the autumn of 1999. 2435 employees participated, the response rate was 73%. The employees were asked to fill in questionnaires about sickness leave, physical work environment, stress, coping, psychological demands, control, and subjective health complaints. Results: A group of 10% of the employees reported 82% of the sickness leave. They were characterised by heavy physical work, lower education, and high levels of many health risk factors, such as smoking, low job satisfaction, sleeping badly, job stress, and low levels of physical exercise. They also had more health complaints. Conclusion: The person most at risk was the old-fashioned manual labourer with low education and heavy physical work. Interventions aiming to reduce sickness leave should target the interventions to the group in need of it.