Author(s): Szubert Z, Sobala W, Szubert Z, Sobala W
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Abstract The objective of this study was to identify major pathologies among firefighters, being the cause of leaving the job. The study was based on the analysis of temporary work disability and disability certificates, taking account of age and duration of employment in the capacity of a firefighter. The study was performed on a representative sample of 1503 firefighters, employed between 1994 and 1997 in 29 fire stations. During that period, 214 firefighters left their job (40\% of them got retired and 38\% of persons were given the right to receive disability pension). The analysis revealed the average annual frequency of leaving the job by firefighters that accounted for about 43/1000 persons (including 17 retired and 16 persons on disability pension per 1000 firefighters, respectively). Among firefighters, the frequency of leaving the job because of retirement or permanent disability was by 60\% higher than among workers employed in different branches of the national economy. The analysis of the relationship between leaving the job and the duration of employment (adjusted for age) showed that the majority of those retired left job after 15 years and those on disability pension after 22 years. Sick absence among firefighters who left the job because of disability and retirement was respectively 13 and 4 times higher than that observed among firefighters in active service. Diseases of the musculoskeletal and circulatory systems and mental disorders were the most common causes of disability. Diseases of the circulatory system (26\%), diseases of musculoskeletal system (25\%) and mental disorders (16\%) were the main causes of sick absence among those disabled, whereas diseases of the musculoskeletal system (26\%), nervous system and sense organs (24\%) and digestive system (13\%) among those getting retired. The study indicated an interchangeable nature of two main reasons why firefighters leave their job (retirement and disability), which results from the right to get retired after 15 years of employment, regardless of the age. The aforesaid pathologies, being the major causes of disability certification and temporary disability for work should be the basis for developing an enlarged program of compulsory preplacement medical examinations addressed to candidates for employment in a fire-brigade.
This article was published in Med Pr
and referenced in Journal of Defense Management