Disability Rates for Cardiovascular and Psychological Disorders Among Autoworkers by Job Category, Facility Type, and Facility Overtime Hours
Background We examined the association between long work hours, assembly line work and stress-related diseases utilizing objective health and employment data from an employer's administrative databases.
Methods A North American automobile manufacturing company provided data for claims for sickness, accident and disability insurance (work absence of at least 4 days) for cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension and psychological disorders, employee demographics, and facility hours worked per year for 1996–2001. Age-adjusted claim rates and age-adjusted rate ratios were calculated using Poisson regression, except for comparisons between production and skilled trades workers owing to lack of age denominator data by job category. Associations between overtime hours and claim rates by facility were examined by Poisson regression and multi-level Poisson regression.
Results Claims for hypertension, coronary heart disease, CVD, and psychological disorders were associated with facility overtime hours. We estimate that a facility with 10 more overtime hours per week than another facility would have 4.36 more claims for psychological disorders, 2.33 more claims for CVD, and 3.29 more claims for hypertension per 1,000 employees per year. Assembly plants had the highest rates of claims for most conditions. Production workers tended to have higher rates of claims than skilled trades workers.
Conclusions Data from an auto manufacturer's administrative databases suggest that autoworkers working long hours, and assembly-line workers relative to skilled trades workers or workers in non-assembly facilities, have a higher risk of hypertension, CVD, and psychological disorders. Occupational disease surveillance and disease prevention programs need to fully utilize such administrative data.