The objective of this study was to examine whether slaughterhouse workers (SW) in Denmark have a higher incidence of disability than expected in comparison with the general population and the sub-group of the population that is gainfully employed, especially with regard to pensions awarded for incapacity related to the musculo-skeletal system. There were 122 male SW who were awarded disability pensions (medium or high level of compensation) in the 3-year period 1977-79 as compared with the expected figure, 152.3 (p less than 0.05) and 40 disability pensions awarded to female SW as compared with 30.7 (0.05 less than p less than 0.10). In men the Standardized Disability Ratio (SDR) increases with age. High SDRs are observed for diagnosis in the musculo-skeletal system for both sexes. The difference between observed and expected values does not change appreciably when the expected values are calculated on the basis of age-specific incidence rates among all actively employed people. Problems of the study design and selection bias are discussed to facilitate the interpretation of results. A possible deleterious effect of meatpacking on the musculo-skeletal system calls for further investigation.
Scandinavian Journal of Social Medicine, 1982, Vol 10, Issue 3, p. 81-85