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

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


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.


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.


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

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