July 2014 spectra 105 - Work & health

Artikel in dieser Ausgabe


Work – a health risk

Work-related health problems. Road workers with damaged hearing, hairdressers with chemical allergies or carpenters with asbestos-impaired lungs: Suva (the Swiss Accident Insurance Fund) handles around 3000 such work-related insurance cases each year. In addition to these relatively clearly defined "occupational diseases", however, there are an infinitely larger number of dis­orders that are also – though not only – caused by work: "work-related health problems". Such physical and mental disorders, for instance stress and back pain, have increased massively in recent decades. Prevention of work-related health problems requires close cooperation between employers, prevention specialists and insurers. more


Work-related diseases

Forum Prof. Dr. med. Brigitta Danuser. Work-related health problems are common; indeed, all surveys show that they have been growing rapidly since the 1990s. In the 2012 Swiss Health Survey, 60 percent of respondents stated that they suffered from stress, and around 20 percent claimed to experience chronic stress that affected their health. The risk of depression is five times higher among chronically stressed individuals. According to an estimate of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), stress generates costs of ten billion francs a year for employers. Every second respondent in the general population had experienced back pain in the previous four weeks, with 18 percent of them receiving medical treatment for the problem. In surveys of the working population, 18 percent report work-related back pain, and 13 percent (or over 50% in 2010) other work-related musculoskeletal pain. The economic costs generated by back pain amount to between 1.6 and 2.3 percent of Swiss gross domestic product. more


At first hand

Editorial Stefan Spycher. Being part of the working population is an important factor in the health of the individual. Paid work not only ensures financial independence; it also creates a sense of personal achievement, security and social integration. But work also entails health risks that go beyond established health protection measures at the workplace. The term "work-related health problems" covers disorders that are not actually caused by specific working conditions but are nonetheless more common among the working population. They include, for instance, musculoskeletal disorders, or symptoms that can result from constant stress. more


Alcohol abuse: the greatest damage is to the economy

Alcohol-related costs. Excessive alcohol consumption weighs heavily not only those directly affected, but also on society as a whole – to the tune of over four billion francs a year. This is the conclusion of a study commissioned by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). The bulk of the costs is borne by the economy: alcohol-related productivity losses amount to CHF 3.4 billion a year. more