Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1991;17 suppl 1:118-121    pdf

Performance efficiency and its changes among aging municipal employees.

by Suvanto S, Huuhtanen P, Nygard CH, Ilmarinen J

The aims of the study were to compare the performance efficiency of aging municipal workers in different work categories and to determine the changes that occurred in visual search, short-term memory, and fine motor performance over a four-year follow-up period beginning at about 51 years of age. The mental capacity of the workers in mental work was better than that of the workers in physical and mixed physical and mental work, and the results between the physical and mixed work groups did not differ significantly. In four years, the workers' complex short-term memory weakened 6-7% in all three work content groups. Fine motor speed decreased 2-7% in the physical and mental work groups. It was concluded that the mental capacity of older workers depends on the mental demands of their work tasks. The weakening of performance is 2-7% between the ages of 51 to 55 years.