Increase in Stress-related Problems Costing Companies Billions

Stress-related illness and injury is costing American businesses billions of dollars per year and the toll may rise as\r\nthe threat of lay-offs forces workers to spend longer, more stressful\r\nhours on the job.

Stress-related illness and injury is costing American businesses a staggering $350 billion per year and the toll may rise even higher as the threat of lay-offs forces workers to spend longer, more stressful hours on the job.

According to Dr. Presley Reed, editor-in-chief of The Medical Disability Advisor (MDA), "In the long run, managing workplace absence from stress-related problems may be the best way for a company to benefit its bottom line.

Reed cites an American Institute of Stress (AIS) estimate that job-related stress costs U.S. industry $300 billion annually, as assessed by absenteeism, diminished productivity, employee turnover, direct medical costs and legal and insurance fees.

In addition, a recently released OSHA study found that physical ailments such as repetitive stress injury costs companies up to $50 billion each year.

AIS estimates that 1 million workers are absent on an average workday because of stress-related complaints.

The April Journal of Occupational Health Psychology reported that employees who are worried about losing their jobs are more at risk for workplace illness and accidents because they pay less attention to safety regulations or feel pressured to cut safety corners.

"Increased workplace pressures, longer hours, anxiety about downsizing and an aging workforce are all contributing to a significant increase in disability from chronic pain, chronic fatigue, carpal tunnel syndrome, substance abuse, stress-related illness, depression and mental illness," said Reed. "Running a tight ship may not be the best way for a company to save money if it means too much overtime and too much stress."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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