Do psychosocial work factors and social relations exert independent effects on sickness absence? A six year prospective study of the GAZEL cohort.
BACKGROUND Sickness absenteeism is the major occupational health problem in developing countries where the majority of working population are engaged in hazardous sectors, such as agriculture. However, there is a dearth of studies clarifying the situation in most of Subsaharan African countries, like Ethiopia. The present study determined the magnitude of sickness absenteeism and associated factors among horticulture employees in Lume District, southeast Ethiopia. METHODS An institutional-based cross-sectional study was conducted among horticulture employees in Lume District, southeast Ethiopia from March to May 2014. Stratified sampling followed by simple random sampling techniques was used to select the study participants. A pre-tested and structured questionnaire was used to collect data. Multivariable analyses were employed to see the effect of explanatory variables on dependent variable. RESULTS The magnitude of sickness absenteeism was 58.8 % [95 % CI: (54.9, 62.5)] in the past three months. Absence of periodic medical checkup, working for more than 48 h per week, working overtime, job dissatisfaction, and job stress were factors significantly associated with sickness absenteeism. CONCLUSIONS In this study a relatively higher rate of sickness absenteeism was reported compared to other studies. Interventions to reduce sickness absenteeism should focus on areas, such as periodic medical checkup, monitoring work schedules, improving employees' job satisfaction, and managing job stress.