Dimensional comparability of physical working conditions as covered in European monitoring questionnaires

STAMI – Tore Tynes and Cecilie Aagestad, STAMI


Collaborative partners:
European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, (Eurofound), Ireland

General information

This project was a continuation of the project “Survey Development and Cross Culture Methodology”.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) constitute one of the main reasons for sickness absence and disability in the EU, with physical working conditions as relevant risk factors. However, within the EU, most OSH-monitors – while measuring the same concepts – do so in in different ways, making EU-wide comparisons on OSH a difficult issue. For countries planning new national surveys and/or revisions of existing surveys addressing physical exposures, a description of similarities and differences in the existing surveys on this topic may be of relevance. In order to better identify groups exposed to a high level of demanding physical working conditions, a wider coverage of physical factors in monitoring instruments, assessed with unambiguous items, is needed. An overview of which items are already in use constitutes a helpful step in this direction.

Hence, the aim of this project was to compare the monitoring instruments on work and health used in six European countries plus all over Europe with a focus on the physical working conditions.


Scientific Relevance
Musculoskeletal disorders constitute one of the main reasons for sickness absence in the member countries of the PEROSH group, e.g. in Denmark, Norway and Germany.

Practical/societal relevance
Physical exposures are an important risk factor for long-term sickness absence and disability pensioning. A comparison of surveys may give ideas to new projects addressing health outcomes and sickness absence related to physical exposures at work.


Publication BMC Public Health 2017

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