Introduction Work conditions have a great impact on the work ability of a seafarer, whether it is about relationship with superiors, working conditions or job description. Ability to accomplish tasks is also very important sign of wellbeing of a worker. As seafarers face a wide range of psychosocial stressors on board, they may be vulnerable to develop burnout syndrome. The aim of this study was to determine influence of different psychosocial risk factors on seafarers work ability.
Methods Field study among seafarers in Croatia was performed from December 2016 until February 2017. Questionnaires regarding burnout, workplace stress levels, work ability index (WAI) and socio-demographic questions have been administered to 222 seafarers in three different cities on the Adriatic coast (Rijeka, Zadar and Split). Response rate was 100% giving a total number of 222 participants. Statistical analysis was performed with IBM SPSS Statistics version 24 and all P values below 0.05 were considered significant.
Result All included seafarers were men with average age of 43.11±11.39 years. Thirty-eight seafarers (17.1%) had unsatisfactory WAI score (≤36) with very high priority of adequate preventive measure in work ability preservation. Pressure at work, uncertainty of work and boredom were most prominent workplace stressors. High burnout level had near 4% of all participants (8/222) and 51 (22.9%) had initial stage of burnout. Binary logistic regression showed that higher burnout level is most significant predictor of low work ability (OR=11.3; 95% CI: 3.3 to 38.8; p<0.001) controlled for age, education level, work tenure, job type and other workplace stressors.
Discussion Results have shown that the prevention of burnout syndrome should be done as soon as possible to maintain adequate work ability. The most vulnerable groups are young and unexperienced workers. Employers should be advised to have appropriate interventions on everyday job routine to prevent boredom especially on long trips.
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