8 February 2018

A nationwide Finnish register study covering a nine-year period from 2005 to 2013 found marked occupational differences in disability retirement due to hip osteoarthritis (OA). Among men, the overall age-adjusted incidence rate of full disability retirement was 25 per 100,000 person years during the nine-year period.

Occupations with statistically significantly higher incidence rate than the population average included construction workers, electricians and plumbers, agricultural and fishery workers, unskilled transport, construction and manufacturing workers, metal and machinery workers, as well as professional drivers. Work tasks in these occupations are often physically heavy and also involve heavy lifting as well as kneeling and squatting.

Our findings suggest that among male manual workers the risk of disability retirement due to hip OA could be reduced by 24 (professional drivers) to 88% (construction workers, electricians and plumbers), if the physical work load factors would be at the level of that among professionals, says Dr. Svetlana Solovieva, a senior researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. The physical work load that explained the highest contribution to the excess risk for most of the male occupations was kneeling and squatting.

The age-adjusted incidence rate of full disability retirement in women was 22 per 100,000 person years. The physical work load factors contributed to a smaller extent to the occupational differences in disability retirement among women.

Disability retirement due to hip osteoarthritis among 30-60 year-old men

Age-adjusted incidence rates (per 100 000 person years) of hip OA during 2005-2013

Prevalence of physical workload factors by occupational group

Contribution of physical work load factors to the risk of disability retirement due to hip OA

Publication: Solovieva S, Kontio T, Viikari-Juntura E. Occupation, Physical Workload Factors, and Disability Retirement as a Result of Hip Osteoarthritis in Finland, 2005‒2013. The Journal of Rheumatology 2018; 45; 4; doi 10.3899/jreum.170748 (Online first).

Further information:
Senior Researcher Svetlana Solovieva, tel. +358304742402
Research Professor Eira Viikari-Juntura, tel. +358407369259