New project on Mechanical exposures among senior workers

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StatensMechanical exposures are important causes of musculoskeletal disorders in Norwegian working life.

Employees above 50 years of age (seniors) constitute a growing part of the society’s potential working force. It is important to society as well as to individuals to preserve the workability as long as possible. This project was started in 2013 and aims at elucidating factors that determine workability and participation in occupations with physically demanding tasks, with emphasis on seniors. This age group shows a high occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders that are a major cause of complaints, sickness absence and early retirement.

The construction and health care sectors are assumed by most employees and health-care providers to be physically demanding with mechanical risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders. A high level of mechanical risk factors at work, combined with a reduced capability of the individual e.g. for seniors, may increase the risk for musculoskeletal disorders and reduce the workability. However, there is insufficient precise knowledge on what aspects of the mechanical work demands that may be harmful, and furthermore on the effects of recovery after physically demanding work.

This study will objectively describe the mechanical work-related risk factors, the level of activity and recovery during leisure time, and prospectively analyze the risk for musculoskeletal disorders and related sickness absence. The knowledge that will be generated may be used to improve the mechanical work exposures at work, not only making it possible for the seniors to stay longer in working life, but also to prevent musculoskeletal disorders for all age groups.

In this project, STAMI collaborates with the National Research Centre for the Working Environment (NFA) in Copenhagen, the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research (CBF), University of Gävle and the Department of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders and Ergonomics, Karolinska Institute (KI), Stockholm.

Contact: bo.veiersted@stami.no

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