Occupation, work environment, and disability pension: a prospective study of construction workers

Scand J Public Health. 2005;33(2):84-90. doi: 10.1080/14034940410019208.


Aims: This study investigated the importance of occupation and work environment for the risk of disability pension among construction workers in Sweden.

Methods: The data include around 389,000 construction workers who participated in health examinations from 1971 to 1992. During that period 68,000 participants received disability pension in some form. Between 1985 and 1992 questionnaires were used to collect data regarding hazards in the work environment. Some 87,000 participants answered that questionnaire, and almost 6,000 of these were in receipt of a disability pension. To analyse the risk of disability pension in different occupations, incidence rates (SIR) were calculated according to the person-year method. Logistic regression was used to calculate age-controlled odds ratios according to physical and psychosocial work environment factors.

Results: The results show considerable variation in risk for disability pension between different occupations within the construction industry. Furthermore, analysis of work environment factors indicated associations with physical, ergonomic, and psychosocial work environment factors.

Discussion: A considerable variation between occupations indicates that characteristics in the work situation are important when explaining the risk of disability pension. The results from this study indicate that improvements in working conditions are an important area of intervention in order to facilitate and prolong labour market participation among elderly people.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Ergonomics
  • Facility Design and Construction* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pensions* / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retirement / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Workers' Compensation* / statistics & numerical data