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August 15, 2003 2:44 PM
Stressful Jobs Are A Killer

Workers exposed to stress for at least half their working lives are 25 per cent more likely to die from a heart attack, and have 50 per cent higher odds of suffering a fatal stroke. Also, blue-collar workers are more prone to such illnesses than executives. These facts are exposed in the ‘modern workers health check’ featured in the latest issue of TUC backed Hazards magazine out today (Tuesday). 

TUC research shows that stress is Britain’s number one workplace health hazard. Now the ‘modern workers health check’ reveals worldwide evidence of employees being worked into the ground:

Workers with stressful jobs are more than twice as likely to die from heart disease. 

An individual’s mental health deteriorates when a change in workload results in higher demands, less control and reduced support. Poor management planning and organisation can lead to heart disease. 

Working for unreasonable and unfair bosses leads to dangerously high blood pressure. 

Workers are smoking, drinking and ‘slobbing out’ to deal with workplace stress. 

Long-term work-related stress is worse for the heart than aging 30 years or gaining 40lbs in weight. 

Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, said: 

'Stress at work is cutting workers’ lives short. This enormous strain on individuals and society will only end when we tackle the causes of stress such as overwork and the long-hours culture The UK needs a workforce that works well and stays well.' 

US stress researcher Paul Landsbergis tells Hazards that long term stress at work is far more likely on the shopfloor than in the boardroom. Research he has worked on shows that it is manual workers, not executives, that are at greatest risk from stress related illness. Blue-collar workers are particularly at risk to heart disease due to high blood pressure, which is linked with excessive overtime, night shifts, and work with high psychological pressures and low rewards. 

Paul Landsbergis said: 

'If you are experiencing the effects of job stress the symptoms are not ‘all in your head’, but are your body’s way of telling you your job is out of kilter. And this stress can, literally, break your heart.' 

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