Cutting the mental and social strain caused by work can make workers healthier in the short and long term, new research has found. A Finnish study discovered the risk of an employee claiming a work disability pension due to musculoskeletal diseases can be decreased by up to 35 per cent by reducing the workplace strains. For mental health problems, improving the job can mean the chance of a disability claim drops by almost 20 per cent. 'These figures are from a Finnish follow-up study in which 30,000 men and women participated. The study investigated how the improvement of employees' potential to influence work time could reduce early exit from work,' said Professor Mika Kivimäki from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) and University College London. 'The prevention of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases is vital for extending working careers,' said Kivimäki. 'Controlling the psychosocial factors of work may help reduce early retirement due to illness. Currently, however, systematic research of concrete ways in which to decrease psychosocial workload at workplaces is largely lacking.' The professor was commenting ahead of a 'Work, Well-being and Wealth: Active Ageing at Work' conference (WWW) held this week in Helsinki.