Scand J Work Environ Health 2005;31 suppl 2:22-26    pdf

Mortality and morbidity among bridge and tunnel construction workers who worked long hours and long days constructing the Great Belt Fixed Link

by Tüchsen F, Hannerz H, Spangenberg S

Objectives This study aimed at estimating the mortality and morbidity of hospital treatment among bridge and tunnel workers who worked round the clock, long hours, and long weeks to construct the Great Belt Fixed Link.

Methods A cohort of all Danish workers in the construction industry was followed for death and first hospitalization and outpatient or emergency ward treatment over 6 years. Standardized mortality and morbidity ratios (SMR) were calculated for selected diagnoses, and 5123 bridge and tunnel construction workers were compared with all 109 383 Danish construction workers.

Results The comparison showed an overall SMR of 124 with a 95% confidence interval (95% CI) of 97–155. For infectious diseases and intestinal infectious diseases, the corresponding values were 156 (95% CI 132–184) and 167 (95% CI 117–230), respectively. For diseases of the nervous system, it was 138 (95% CI 118–160), and including nerve, nerve root and plexus disorders it was 135 (95% CI 104–171), for instance, mononeuropathies of the upper limbs (SMR 136, 95% CI 101–180). The SMR was 139 (95% CI 126–153) for circulatory diseases, 157 (95% CI 130–189) for ischemic heart disease, 129 (95% CI 114–146) for diseases of the respiratory system, 124 (95% CI 114–135) for diseases of the digestive system, and 115 (95% CI 108–123) for diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, including other intervertebral disc disorders (than cervical) (SMR 130, 95% CI 109–154).

Conclusions Bridge and tunnel workers who work round the clock, long hours, and long weeks have a mortality rate that is as high as that of other construction workers, and they are treated more often in hospitals.

The following articles refer to this text: 2006;32(5):349-358; SJWEH Supplements 2006;(2):22-26