Working ability is known to be related to good physical condition, clear work tasks, positive feedback and other occupational, organizational and psychosocial factors. In Sweden, high levels of sickness absence are due to stress-related disorders and musculoskeletal pain. To identify work health characteristics in a working population with a large variety of professional skills and occupational tasks. Employers' data on occupation, sickness absence, age and gender in a working population of 11 occupational groups and questionnaire responses regarding work-organization, environment, work stress, pain, health, and socio-demographic factors were collected. Employees with no history of sick-leave were compared with those with a history of sick-leave (1182 days, mean 25 days). Of 2641 employees, 1961 participated. Those with no history of sick-leave reported less work-related pain, work-related stress, sleep disturbances, worry about their health, osick-presenteeism', monotonous work, bent and twisted working positions and exposure to disturbing noise than those with a history of sick-leave (P < 0.001). They also reported better health, support from superiors, having influence on their working hours and evening and week-end working, longer working hours per week (P < 0.001) and more regular physical training (P < 0.01). Socio-demographic factors were less important than gender, and differences in responses between occupational groups were also found. Workers without a history of sick-leave experienced less stress, sleep disturbances, worry about their own health and less neck, shoulder and back pain and more support from their superiors and influence on their working hours.
2013. Vol. 63, no 1, 17-22 p.