Background: The aim was to assess the rate at which waste collectors and municipal workers leave their job, to establish the outcome and to identify associated risk factors within work environment, health, lifestyle and marital status.
Methods: A questionnaire-based survey among a cohort of 2,918 waste collectors and municipal workers was performed in 1994, with follow-up 2.5 years later.
Results: Twenty-five percent had left the job at follow-up. Of these, 31% had changed jobs (associated with low decision authority), 16% were unemployed (associated with low skill discretion, pushing heavy loads and extreme bending of back), 10% received Disability Pension/long-term sick leave (associated with low skill discretion, prevalent diseases, underweight and smoking), and 12% received Early Retirement Pension (associated with extreme bending of back and marital status).
Conclusions: The study suggests a potential for preventing people from leaving physically heavy occupations by improving the physical and psychosocial work environment.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.