Introduction Mental illnesses are common among general population. They are responsible for decreased quality of life, work absenteeism, premature deaths and increasing costs for health systems. Mental diseases can be caused or aggravated by occupational factors and might increase the risk of accidents in the mining industry, if they are not properly detected and treated. The aim of this study was to estimate the association between distress and psychosocial risk at work in a mining company in Valparaiso region, Chile.
Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted during 2014–2015 in Andina Division, located in Los Andes, Chile. 343 mining workers were invited to participate (response rate 99.7%), classified according to work-tasks into operative (n=253) and administrative workers (n=79). The adapted survey of Working Conditions and Health in Latin America, GHQ-12 (Goldberg´s health questionnaire) of mental symptoms and ISTAS-21 questionnaire of psychosocial risk were applied. The main outcome was distress (GHQ-12 ≥5). Descriptive, bivariate (chi2 test) and logistic regression (multivariate) analyses controlling for potential confounding factors were performed.
Results Prevalence of distress was 23.6%. Sensitivity analysis (GHQ-12 ≥7) showed a prevalence of potential mental illness of 8.6%. No differences were observed between workers from main company and subcontractors or between operative and administrative workers. Not being able to concentrate (43%), feeling under stress (43%) and losing much sleep (35%) were the most frequently reported. In bivariate analysis, a statistically significant association was found between the presence of distress and high strain jobs (27.5%; p=0.02). No statistically significant association was found between low job security or type of job and distress. In logistic regression analysis, workers in high strain jobs (OR:2.02; 95% CI: 1.10 to 3.71) were at increased odds of distress, compared to low strain jobs.
Discussion High strain jobs might be related to distress in Chilean miners. The causes declared for distress could increase the risk of accidents in mining industry.
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