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Primary osteoarthritis and occupation in the Quebec national health and social survey
  1. M Rossignol
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Rossignol
 Montreal Department of Public Health, 1301 Sherbrooke Street East, Montreal QC, Canada H2L 1M3;


Background: The scientific evidence available is consistent in linking osteoarthritis (OA) and occupation but is lacking information regarding preventable risks in the workplace.

Aims: To explore the effect of different dimensions of physical demand in the relation between self reported OA and occupation.

Methods: Nationwide population survey of employed and self employed adults aged 25–64.

Results: Of the 11 144 workers surveyed, 3.1% (two females for one male) reported a problem with OA (any site). They reported some degree of limitations in their daily activities in a proportion that was six times higher (26.8%) than the rest of the population of the same age without OA and twice as high for absence from work in the previous year (23.8%). Of the different dimensions of risks used in the survey and controlling for age, body mass index, and smoking, “use of force with tools or machines” showed a statistically significant association with OA in males and females. In occupations significant risks of OA were identified in male unskilled labourers and skilled labourers, and in female technicians, and workers in the services sector.

Conclusions: Results of the present survey indicated that occupational stresses associated with OA may differ substantially between male and female workers and that specific risks may affect the younger workforce (25–44 years old) in some occupations, including housekeeping and other ill defined skilled and unskilled labour.

  • osteoarthritis
  • occupation
  • epidemiology

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