Influence of the working conditions on sickness absence due to common diseases

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Objective: To estimate the importance of the working environment in sickness absence, as well as to show possible relationships with clinical-work variables. Design: A descriptive observational study. Site: Medical Inspection of an Andalusian province. Participants: A total of 1016 workers on certified sick leave due to a common illness. Main measurements: A self-report questionnaire was used to collect demographic data, profession, activity, risk assessment, and perceived occupational cause, on patients who voluntarily gave their consent when they were reviewed during 2015. The illness that caused certified sickness absences was verified in the computerised medical records. Using criteria applied by experts, the role of working conditions in each episode of certified sick leave was assessed. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine any relationships between the variables. Results: An inadequate work environment was found in 17.1% of the sickness processes. Health and hospitality services activities have a significant association with working conditions as a cause of sick leave (P <.001). With respect to diagnosis, anxiety-depressive disorders (P <.01) and low back pain (P <.05) were associated with working conditions. The factors related to certified sickness absence and work environment were: residence (OR = 0.34, 0.21-0.6), normal/higher education (OR = 1.7, 1.2-2.4), (OR = 2.0 1.3-3.1), large companies (OR = 1.97, 1.3-2.9), and job (OR = 2.7, 1.6-3, 2). Conclusions: Sickness absence is affected by factors related to the work environment. Specific preventive actions for workers at their workplace could reduce work related diseases classified as a common illness.




Vaquero-Álvarez, M., Álvarez-Theurer, E., & Romero Saldaña, M. (2018). Influence of the working conditions on sickness absence due to common diseases. Atencion Primaria, 50(4), 238–246.

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