Stress, Overwork, and Insecurity Lead to “Pandemic” of Work-Related Accidents and Illnesses

by Vins

From delivery drivers to home care providers, workers face increasing pressures to work faster and longer, making their jobs more dangerous, María José Carmona reported for Inequality.org. Carmona’s article was based data from the International Labor Organization (ILO) on work-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses. According to the ILO, more than 7,500 work-related deaths occur every day around the world. But just fourteen percent of those fatalities occur on the job. Instead, most deaths are stress-related illnesses or accidents that take place when workers are not on duty.

“Psychosocial risks are the great pandemic of this century and they are related to the precarious conditions of the labor market,” warns Ana García de la Torre, secretary of occupational health of Spain’s General Union of Workers (UGT).

Job insecurity, precarious contracts, and low wages have created a new category of working poor. Today, in addition to earning low wages, they are also more likely to become sick or injured.

Furthermore, there is a close correlation between excessive working hours and accidents at work. Excessive working hours are associated with the chronic effects of fatigue, which can lead to cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, high rates of anxiety, depression, and sleeping disorders.

Carmona wrote that protecting workers is “impossible in a market that is unrestrained and insecure by nature,” but her report noted that curbing competition, better regulating work hours, and slowing down work processes could all help to improve workers’ health and safety, on and off the job.

Source: María José Carmona, “Stress, Overwork, and Insecurity are Driving the Invisible Workplace Accident Rate,” Inequality.org (Institute for Policy Studies), September 13, 2019, https://inequality.org/research/invisible-workplace-accident-rate/; republished by Common Dreams, September 22, 2019, https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/22/stress-overwork-and-insecurity-are-driving-invisible-workplace-accident-rate.

Student Researcher: Marco Gonzales (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)

Review Article with Credder

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