El paradigma de la actividad sepultureroenvejecimiento activo capacidad para el trabajo: estudio de caso en la División Cementerial del Ayuntamiento de Lisboa

  1. Ana María Gouveia Rodrigues
Dirigée par:
  1. Jesús Seco Calvo Directeur
  2. Casimira Flor da Costa Santos Directeur/trice
  3. María Victoria Casares del Río Directeur/trice

Université de défendre: Universidad de León

Fecha de defensa: 07 mai 2021

  1. María Nélida Fernández Martínez President
  2. Vicente Rodríguez Pérez Secrétaire
  3. Enrique Echevarría Orella Rapporteur

Type: Thèses


The social invisibility, the stigma and prejudice associated (attributed) to the profession of gravedigger arises from the way in which society perceives death and how it relates it directly to this profession (professional category). Our work was based on the study of two topics: The stigma of the gravedigger’s profession and active aging. We started from the assumptions: Create psychological and physical conditions for a healthy work place (environment); promote and maintain a good quality of life for cemetery workers in the city of Lisbon; to evaluate factors of the profession that impact on the gravedigger’s quality of life (of impact of the work in the quality of life of the gravediggers); create support tools to minimize the risks of musculoskeletal diseases; ensure adequate information on hazards, risks and appropriate preventive measures; demystify the gravedigger’s profession through educational and informative actions aimed at citizens and gravediggers. The objectives defined (for our work) have been achieved. The hypotheses from which we started were also validated. Our study was exploratory, due to (with) little information available. We lead (hence our bet on) a mixed Qualitative and Quantitative methodology that gave us a more comprehensive knowledge about the problem, and we chose a case study at the Cemeterial Management Division (DGC) of the Lisbon City Council (CMLisboa). The work was developed during (covered) the pandemic period, that was not foreseen in our investigation, and in seven cemeteries in the city of Lisbon reaching the following conclusions: Most workers recognize the strategy developed by the head of DGC (the work of DGC leaders in) to control and prevent the pandemic Covid19, valuing the importance of technical monitoring and compliance with all procedures. The gravediggers feel more informed, which enables them to face the pandemic with greater serenity (with another dynamic). From the assessment of the dangers and risks inherent to the undertaker’s activity, the following dangerous conditions were highlighted: Manual handling of loads / urns; displacement on sloping terrain; exposure to decomposing bodies; manipulation of work equipment (cuts, blows against objects); exposure to dangerous substances; work environment with exposure to adverse weather conditions; cargo handling (urns coated with zinc or lead), characterized by excess weight (400-500 kg), with the adoption of inappropriate postures in limited space and in depth, underground deposits. The most relevant predictors of the ability to work index (ICT) for the total sample of DGC workers are: age, ITP, perception of the social community at work, job satisfaction, work-family conflict and depressive symptoms. Workers over 50 years old and with a weak work capacity are more likely to develop disabilities to stop working in the following 10 years, which determines the need for preventive interventions. Temporary partial disability (ITP) was a validated factor, supported by the analysis of aptitude sheets. We concluded an increase in the conditional aptitudes between the years 2016 and 2019, reflecting the physical and emotional stress of the activity, related to the high physical demands of the tasks and to aging. The occupational diseases with the greatest impact were musculoskeletal disorders, followed by bilateral hearing loss / professional deafness. Regarding mental health, the perception of Burnout was considered critical (more than 25%) in the Olivais and Ajuda cemeteries. In the survey citizens reveled a poor perception of the tasks and emotional burden that the profession entails, revealing discomfort in relation to the topic – perception of the activity. (From the application of the survey to citizens about the perception of the activity, we found that some of the respondents felt uncomfortable in relation to the topic, uncomfortable to be able to answer the questions and did not have the perception of the detail of the tasks that the gravediggers perform, the emotional burden in the execution, namely the burial of children and adults). It was intended, to provide a deserved social recognition to these professionals, contributing with actions to improve living and working conditions. From the set of recommendations and improvements, (the relevance of) the following measures stand out: implementation of the medical surveillance protocol for the undertaker, reduction of physical demands, the management of emotions and conflicts and the management of the pre-retirement period.