STUDY OBJECTIVES: To analyse long term effects of working conditions experienced at an advanced age, and after retirement by quantifying occupational strain, impairment, and disability to establish their interrelation. DESIGN: Retrospective study. PARTICIPANTS: Retired miners from The French Coal Board who had worked in the coal fields of the Loire valley. From a potential population of 507 retired miners, 350 were completely evaluated. MEASUREMENT: The study examines the occupational strain experienced by each subject, measured using both auto-evaluation and evaluation by experts and the locomotion impairment and the functional independence. MAIN RESULTS: A significant relation between the evaluation of occupational strain and functional independence and locomotion impairment of the low back was found and also a significant relation between locomotion impairment of the low back and the length of time spent working at the coal face. CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms other studies as regards the effects of occupation on health status and on the aging process, but it goes further to show the consequences of this relation on functional independence.
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