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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders

, 9:8

First Online: 23 January 2008Received: 27 February 2007Accepted: 23 January 2008


BackgroundWe studied musculoskeletal diseases MSD and injuries among fishermen and seamen with focus on low back disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome CTS, rotator cuff syndrome and arthrosis.

MethodsCohorts of all male Danish seamen officers and non-officers and fishermen employed 1994 and 1999 with at least six months employment history were linked to the Occupational Hospitalisation Register. We calculated standardised incidence ratios SIR for the two time periods, using rates for the entire Danish workforce as a reference.

ResultsAmong fishermen, we found high SIRs for knee arthrosis, thoraco-lumbar disc disorders, injuries and statistically significant SIRs above 200 were seen for both rotator cuff syndrome and CTS. The SIR was augmented for injuries and reduced for hip arthrosis between the two time periods. The SIRs for injuries and CTS were high for non-officers. A sub-analysis revealed that the highest risk for CTS was found among male non-officers working as deck crew, SIR 233 95% CI: 166–317 based on 40 cases. Among officers, the SIRs for injuries and MSDs were low. The number of employed Danish fishermen declined with 25% 1994–1999 to 3470. Short-term employments were common. None of the SIRs increased with increasing length of employment.

ConclusionBoth fishermen and non-officers have high SIRs for injuries and fishermen also for MSD. Only the SIR for injuries among fishermen was augmented between 1994 and 1999. Our findings suggest an association between the incidence of rotator cuff syndrome and CTS and work within fishery. Long-term cumulative effects of employment were not shown for any of the disease outcomes. Other conditions may play a role.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2474-9-8 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Linda Kaerlev - Anker Jensen - Per Sabro Nielsen - Jørn Olsen - Harald Hannerz - Finn Tüchsen


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