Profile of sickness absenteeism at the Consul Glass factory, Clayville, Midrand, 2004.
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INTRODUCTION Sick leave absenteeism is a recognized problem in all work sectors. The financial impact of sick leave has been well-documented. A profile of sick leave records can establish the extent of the sick leave problem in a workplace, the associated and predisposing factors for sick leave and the patterns of sick leave amongst workers. A baseline profile of the sick leave patterns in a workplace should be a preliminary step toward developing a programme aimed at the improvement of workers' health and attendance at work. AIM OF THE STUDY The aim of this study was to profile recorded sick leave for 2004 amongst permanent workers at the Consul Factory in Olifantsfontein, Midrand, Johannesburg in order to make recommendations to management. METHODS This was a cross-sectional study using a retrospective review of sick leave records of permanent workers at the Consul Glass factory for 2004. Information gathered included the demographic profile of workers who recorded sick leave, the frequency of sick leave, associated factors for sick leave, health care choices of workers with sick leave and the reasons for sick leave. Descriptive and analytic statistics have been presented. RESULTS • Workers over the age of fifty years had sick leave of longer duration compared to those younger than 50 years old (p<0.05). The median hours taken off for sick leave was higher in the male subgroup compared to the female subgroup of workers in the study population (p<0.05); • Workers from the production areas had more sick leave episodes for the year than workers from the non-production areas (p<0.05). Workers with bronchitis working in the production areas of the factory, had longer duration of sick leave compared to workers with bronchitis working in the nonproduction areas of the factory (p<0.05); • Workers on a variable shift schedule took more sick leave on days of the week that were unlinked to weekends and public holidays (p<0.05).A longer duration of sick leave occurred with certified sick leave compared with self reported sick leave (p<0.05); • In the study population, the majority were not medical aid members. Medical aid members had a longer duration of sick leave per episode compared to non-medical aid members (P<0.05); • Respiratory tract infection was the most common reason for sick leave. Of the ten most common reasons for sick leave, there was a significant difference in the mean number of hours of sick leave taken per episode for dental treatment and backache (p<0.05); • There was a significant difference in the mean number of hours of sick leave recommended by the four different sources of sick notes (p<0.05); • There was a significant association for worker interviews/counselling by the Human Resources' Department official and the worker having had four or more episodes of sick leave for the year (p<0.05). CONCLUSION The profile of sick leave at this company identified important associations with sick leave patterns. These significant findings provide management with baseline information, which can be used for the development of workplace interventions to address the taking of sick leave at the Consul Glass factory.