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Sickness Absence Among Forestry Workers in the North of Scotland, 1958
  1. Donald McGregor
  1. Craigdhu, Bonar Bridge, Sutherland


    The sickness absence records of 1,115 forest workers in the highlands of Scotland during 1958 were examined. Only absences of four days or more were considered. Two hundred and seventy of the workers were established and were therefore entitled to retirement pensions. There was a high proportion of older men among the established workers; but the sickness record of these men was generally better than that of the unestablished workers except in respect of cardiovascular disease, rheumatism, and arthritis.

    Among forest workers as a whole, accidents off duty accounted for more sickness absence than accidents on duty, a reversal of the finding in the male working population at large. The second most important cause of sickness absence was back troubles of all kinds. Among the male working population at large the second most important cause of absence was bronchitis, a disease which among forest workers comes 13th on the list.

    A comparison was made between the sickness absence record of the highland forest workers and a group of telephone construction gang hands performing broadly comparable work (as regards health hazards) in the same area but whose members were drawn from more urban homes. In general fewer forest workers than telephone gang hands went sick in 1958 for all common ailments except cardiovascular disease, a finding perhaps related to the greater average age of forest workers. When this difference in age was allowed for it was found that the greatest difference between the two groups of sickness records was in bronchitis, cardiovascular disease, and peptic ulcer and gastritis, in that order, and was to the advantage of the forest workers. Next came the upper respiratory tract infections. The least difference was in accidents, septic conditions, and rheumatism and arthritis.

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