Stress: Common problem for workers in Great Britain

A report recently released in Great Britain indicates stress is the second most frequently reported job-related health condition in that country, trailing behind musculoskeletal disorders.

The report, Self-reported Work-related Illness in 1995 - Results of a Household Survey, is based on detailed interviews with 1,551 people who reported suffering from an illness caused or made worse by their work in 1995. They were identified by screening a nationally representative sample of 40,000 people.

Investigators found that an estimated two million people in Great Britain - 1.2 million males and 0.8 million females - had illnesses which they believe were caused by their jobs. That is a national average rate of 4.8% of people ever employed. The highest rates of job-related illnesses, in which more than 7% of currently or recently working workers were affected, were found in coal miners, nurses, construction workers, and teachers.

Musculoskeletal disorders were the most commonly reported work-related illness, affecting an estimated 1.2 million people. Stress was the second most commonly reported condition, with 500,000 people reporting that work-related stress made them ill. Other diseases making up 5% or more of the total included lower respiratory disease (202,000); deafness, tinnitus or other ear conditions (170,000); skin disease (66,000); and headache or eyestrain (50,000).

In 1995, 545,000 workers took 19.5 million days off work because of a work-related illness. Each worker took an average 0.71 days off work.