Relating Older Workers’ Injuries to the Mismatch Between Physical Ability and Job Demands

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Abstract

Objective:

We examined the association between job demand and occupational injury among older workers.

Methods:

Participants were workers aged 50+ enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study, 2010 to 2014. Participants reported physical ability within three domains: physical effort, stooping/kneeling/crouching, and lifting. To measure subjective job demand, participants rated their job's demands within domains. We generated objective job demand measures through the Occupational Information Network (O*NET). Using Poisson regression, we modeled the association between physical ability, job demand, and self-reported occupational injury. A second model explored interaction between job demand and physical ability.

Results:

The injury rate was 22/1000 worker-years. Higher job demand was associated with increased injury risk. Within high job demands, lower physical ability was associated with increased injury risk.

Conclusions:

Older workers whose physical abilities do not meet job demands face increased injury risk.

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