Workability in the Ageing Workforce: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study

Niels-Peter Brøchner Nielsen*, Gert Thomsen, Jesper Rasmussen, Lars Rauff Skadhauge, Bibi Gram

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of age, musculoskeletal pain and ergonomic exposure on workability in the oldest group of workers. Methods: The study was a population based cross-sectional survey. The study population comprised citizens born between 1952–1966, living in Esbjerg municipality ultimo 2016 (n = 23,463). A questionnaire was sent electronically or by mail. The analysis included the working population only. A stereotype logistic regression was used with the primary dependent variable being workability and independent variables included age, musculoskeletal pain, and ergonomic exposure. Results: The response rate was 58% and the data demonstrated a significant negative association between age and workability. With excellent workability as a reference, the odds for poor workability increased by 97% being 60+ y compared to 50–55y. Both moderate intensity and severe musculoskeletal pain in the back, shoulder and knee/hip all showed significantly higher odds for poor workability. Ergonomic exposures, such as standing/walking, working with back bent or twisted and carrying or lifting had a significant negative impact on workability. Conclusion: Age, musculoskeletal pain and ergonomic exposures showed a significant negative impact on workability in the oldest group of workers and should be targeted with preventive initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12656
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number23
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1. Dec 2021


  • Aging, musculoskeletal pain
  • Ergonomic exposure
  • Work demands
  • Musculoskeletal Pain/epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ergonomics
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases/epidemiology
  • Aging
  • Workforce


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