Recurrent musculoskeletal conditions among farmers: A path towards disability pension

Janne P. Karttunen, Risto H. Rautiainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research indicates that farmers have an elevated risk of musculoskeletal (MS) conditions resulting in disability. This case-control study evaluated the association of compensated occupational MS injuries and diseases and granted chronic MS disability pensions in Finnish farmers. The cases consisted of 1,136 selfemployed farmers with a disability pension due to a disease of the MS system and connective tissue granted during a 5-year period (2010-2014). The controls, matched by gender, age, and insurance start year, consisted of 3,408 farmers with neither granted nor rejected disability pension claims of any kind. Disability pension data were augmented with "career-long" workers' compensation claims data for each of the case and control farmers. The cases and controls had a total of 9,040 compensated occupational injuries and 644 diseases. Half of all injury claims and about one-third of occupational disease claims were related to the MS system. The cases had significantly higher incidence of MS injury claims, MS disease claims, recurrent MS injury claims, and serious MS injury claims than the controls. MS claims frequently involved work tasks and causes related to animal husbandry in general and to dairy and beef work in particular. Based on our study, MS injuries and diseases are strongly associated with disability pensions due to a MS diagnosis among farmers. Our results are consistent and add to previous studies which emphasize MS conditions as a major health problem particularly among livestock farmers and workers. We suggest modern working conditions and healthy lifestyle choices could protect farmers from the negative career path leading to permanent loss of work ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalChemical Engineering Transactions
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering


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