Presentation T P46

T P46 (Poster Presentation):
Workers’ health surveillance in the meat processing industry: work and health indicators associated with work ability

Presented by: Berry van Holland


Van Holland BJ1, Soer R2,3, De Boer MR4, Reneman MF1, Brouwer S5

  1. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Center for Rehabilitation, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  2. Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Enschede, The Netherlands
  3. Groningen Spine Center, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  4. Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Institute for Health Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  5. Department of Health Sciences, Community and Occupational Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands



Workers’ health surveillance (WHS) programs commonly measure a large number of indicators addressing health habits and health risks. Recently, work ability and functional capacity have been included as important risk measures in WHS. In order to address work ability appropriately, knowledge of associations with work and health measures is necessary. The objective of this study was to evaluate which of the factors measured in a WHS are independently associated with work ability in a group of meat processing workers.


A cross-sectional study was performed in a large meat processing company in The Netherlands. Data were collected during a WHS between February 2012 and March 2014. Personal characteristics, health habits and health-risk indicators, functional capacity, and work-related factors were measured. Work ability was measured with the Work Ability Index and was used as dependent variable. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted. The Area Under the Curve (AUC) was calculated.


Data sets from 230 employees were used for analyses. The average age was 53 (SD 6.7) years and the average work ability index score was 39.3 (SD 5.4). In the final multivariable model age (OR = 0.94; 95% CI 0.89-0.99), systolic blood pressure (OR = 1.03; 95% CI 1.00-1.05), need for recovery (OR = 0.56; 95% CI 0.44-0.71), and overhead work capacity (OR = 3.95; 95% CI 1.80-8.68) contributed significantly. The AUC for this model was 0.81 (95% CI 0.75-0.86).


Findings from the current study indicate that personal, health-risk, functional, and work-related outcomes from a WHS were independently associated with work ability. These factors can be used to assess employees at risk for low work ability and might thus provide directions for interventions. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
12:45 - 13:45 Poster Viewing
Session: Work capacity / ability