Increase in Stress-related Problems Costing Companies Billions

May 29, 2001
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

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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