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The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5079-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Offshore work has been described as demanding and stressful. Despite this, evidence regarding the occupational strain, health, and coping behaviors of workers in the growing offshore wind industry in Germany is still limited. The purpose of our study was to explore offshore wind employees’ perceptions of occupational strain and health, and to investigate their strategies for dealing with the demands of offshore work.
We conducted 21 semi-structured telephone interviews with employees in the German offshore wind industry. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed in a deductive-inductive approach following Mayring’s qualitative content analysis.
Workers generally reported good mental and physical health. However, they also stated perceptions of stress at work, fatigue, difficulties detaching from work, and sleeping problems, all to varying extents. In addition, physical health impairment in relation to offshore work, e.g. musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal complaints, was documented. Employees described different strategies for coping with their job demands. The strategies comprised of both problem and emotion-focused approaches, and were classified as either work-related, health-related, or related to seeking social support.
Our study is the first to investigate the occupational strain, health, and coping of workers in the expanding German offshore wind industry. The results offer new insights that can be utilized for future research in this field. In terms of practical implications, the findings suggest that measures should be carried out aimed at reducing occupational strain and health impairment among offshore wind workers. In addition, interventions should be initiated that foster offshore wind workers’ health and empower them to further expand on effective coping strategies at their workplace.