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Keywords:

  • back;
  • neck/shoulder;
  • upper extremity;
  • sick leave;
  • age;
  • smoking;
  • epidemiology;
  • agriculture

Abstract

Background

In Dutch agriculture, musculoskeletal disorders are a main cause of sick leave. Among self-employed insured farmers, neck, shoulder, upper extremity, and back disorders accounted for 30% of the claims for sick leave of less than 1 year This case-control study set out to identify and quantify risk factors for sick leave due to musculoskeletal disorders among self-employed Dutch farmers.

Methods

Sick leave, claimed at an insurance company from 1998 to 2001 for back (SL-BP, n = 198) or neck/shoulder/upper extremity trouble (SL-EXT, n = 89) was analyzed; the controls did not file any claim in this period (n = 816).

Results

Multivariate analysis showed that risk factors for SL-BP were increased age (OR = 1.06 per year, CI = 1.04–1.09), body mass index (BMI) >27 (OR = 1.93, CI = 1.2–3.2), smoking (OR = 1.90, CI = 1.2–2.9), former pain (OR = 3.28, CI = 2.1–5.1), tractor driving >1,000 hr/year (OR = 2.44, CI = 1.0–6.4), and “high work pace and workload” (OR = 1.59, CI = 1.0–2.4). SL-EXT was associated with pig (OR = 3.63, CI = 1.4–9.7), mushroom (OR = 6.14, CI = 1.4–27.2), or dairy/pig farming (OR = 4.56, 1.1–19.5), while age (OR = 1.10, CI = 1.06–1.14), smoking (OR = 1.79, CI = 1.0–3.2), and former pain (OR = 3.37, CI = 1.9–6.1) were also contributing.

Conclusions

Prevention of sick leave of self-employed farmers should focus on life style (obesity, smoking), reducing older farmers' exposure to physical load, exposure to long-term tractor driving. Specific attention should be paid to animal and mushroom farmers. Am. J. Ind. Med. 49:204–214, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.