Work ability index in a cohort of railway construction workers

C. Capanni, S. Sartori, G. Carpentiero, G. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Working conditions and work load can have a significant effect on work ability, due not only to their direct impact on health and well-being, but also to the possibility they let to maintain job and competence at acceptable levels with normal ageing. In this perspective a cohort of 377 manual workers, aged between 21 and 67 years, engaged in a railway tunnel digging have been examined. They were miners, carpenters, maintenance workers, dumper drivers and clerks/storekeepers. In the whole cohort, the Work Ability Index resulted excellent in 23.6%, good in 47.2%, moderate in 24.4%, and poor in 4.8% of the workers (12.2% in those over 55 years). The mean WAI progressively decreases from the youngest to the oldest decade (from 41.5 in subjects under 25 years to 36.0 in subjects over 55 years), and passing from day-work (39.7) to semi-continuous three-shift work (39.2) and continuous 3-shift work (37.7). Miners and carpenters showed the highest percentages of poor-moderate WAI (31.6% and 35.1% respectively); these latter show also a steeper decrement over the years. Compared to other working groups of industrial and service sectors, the railway construction workers show the lower mean WAI scores at all age groups and the most pronounced decrease over decades.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-257
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Congress Series
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Aging
  • Construction workers
  • Heavy work
  • Shift work
  • Work ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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