Sickness absence and the strenuousness of work

Sickness absence and the strenuousness of work

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Sickness absence and strenuousness

Musculoskeletal diseases
Select gender
50%Average for menAverage for womenStrenuous work (% of employees)0102030405060708090100Sickness absence (%)0246810121416ClerksCraft and related trades workersElementary occupationsLegislators, senior officials and managersPlant and machine operators and assemblersProfessionalsService and care workers, and shop and market sales workersSkilled agricultural and fishery workersTechnicians and associate professionals

The database enables you to study the physical strain and sickness absences of a specific occupational group. Companies or occupational health care services, for example, can examine how sickness absences in their company differ from the national average of similar occupations.


The Sickness absence and strenuousness of work database describes how physically strenuous work is linked to sickness absences in different occupations. The database enables you to study the physical strain and sickness absences of a specific occupational group. With it, occupations at high risk of sickness absences can be identified in order to plan preventive measures.

The data is based on a 70% random sample which is representative of the Finnish working-age population. The register data contains data on sickness allowance periods provided by Social Insurance Institution of Finland and information about occupations according to the international classification of occupations (Statistics Finland's classification of occupations 2001).

Data regarding sickness absences in 2013 is based on health insurance reimbursements for sickness allowance periods which start 10 weekdays after the waiting period. The study population includes 25-59 year old employees who were not on a sickness absence period at the start of the year of the study. Persons who permanently retired, moved out of the country or died by the end of the study year have been removed from the data. The final study population comprised over one million people.

We inspected the percentage of people who started at least one sickness allowance period in all illnesses and in the two illnesses that most commonly cause incapacity for work: diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (ICD-10 M00–M99) and mental, behavioral and neurodevelopmental disorders (F00–F99).

Information on the physical strenuousness of the work based on the occupational code from the stress factor database of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

What do the indicators describe

The Y axis represents the percentage of employees with a sickness absence and the X axis describes the percentage of people exposed to strenuous work in different occupations. The occupations represented by the dots can be identified by hovering over them.

In the drop-down menu, sickness absence data can be shown for all illnesses and separately for musculoskeletal diseases and mental disorders.

Furthermore, you can use the drop-down menus to filter the results to be shown by main occupational class and by occupation.

The percentages of a single occupation have been calculated separately for genders if there are enough responses for both genders. If one of the genders does not have enough responses, the data for the occupation have been calculated using all responses. In the caption of the occupation ball, you can see how the data have been calculated. The caption is shown when you hover over the ball with the mouse or tap the ball on a touch screen.

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Contact information

Taina Leinonen

+358 30 474 2030

Svetlana Solovieva

+358 30 474 2402

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License

The publication is licensed under Creative Commons 4.0 International -license.

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