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Open Access Research article

Go to work or report sick? A focus group study on decisions of sickness presence among offshore catering section workers

Kariann Krohne1* and Liv Heide Magnussen23

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Health Sciences, Oslo University College, Oslo, Norway

2 Uni Health, Bergen, Norway

3 Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Norway

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:70  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-70

Published: 18 March 2011



To identify and explore the factors promoting sickness presenteeism among offshore catering section workers.


Twenty men and women, working in the offshore catering section onboard three offshore oil and gas production platforms on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, participated in three focus groups. Data from the focus groups were analysed according to a phenomenological approach, and supported by theories on presenteeism.


The results show that the decision to attend work despite illness, first and foremost, was based on the severity of the health complaint. Other factors identified were; the individual's location once the health complaint occurred, job satisfaction, the norms of the team, and experiences of how company policies on sickness absenteeism were implemented by the catering section leaders.


Offshore working conditions may promote sickness presenteeism. The factors promoting sickness presenteeism onboard the platforms reflected experiences of a healthy work environment.