Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2009;35(1):56-64    pdf


Musculoskeletal disorders among construction roofers—physical function and disability

by Welch L, Haile E, Boden LI, Hunting KL

Objectives This study investigated the relationships between work demands, chronic medical and musculoskeletal conditions, aging, and the ability to remain on the job in a longitudinal study of 979 construction roofers between the ages of 40 and 59 years.

Methods In a phone interview at baseline and 1 year later, the participants were asked about the presence of medical conditions and musculoskeletal disorders, work limitations and work accommodations, and social and economic functioning.

Results Among the workers for whom a musculoskeletal disorder was their most serious condition at baseline, 8% left roofing due to a health condition during the first year of follow-up. A comparison between those who left and those who stayed identified older age and lower physical functioning as statistically significant predictors of leaving the trade. Workers with a musculoskeletal disorder and who, in the baseline interview, reported receiving some type of job accommodation for their musculoskeletal disorder had an odds ratio of 0.24 (P=0.07) for leaving work by the time of the 1-year follow-up when compared with workers with a musculoskeletal disorder and no job accommodation. The workers with three or more work limitations were also more likely to leave roofing, but this association disappeared after adjustment for other factors.

Conclusions Musculoskeletal conditions among roofers are strongly associated with work limitation, missed work, and reduced physical functioning, factors that are predictive of premature departure from the workforce. Job accommodation was provided for 31% of the roofers with a musculoskeletal disorder, and it was associated with a reduced likelihood of subsequently leaving roofing for health-related reasons.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2005;31(4):249-257  2005;31 suppl 2:31-36  2006;32(1):75-84  2007;33(5):351-357  1997;23(6):403-413
The following articles refer to this text: 2009;35(5):321-324; 2010;36(1):1-2; 2011;37(6):451-453