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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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Work-related exhaustion trebles the death risk
of younger industrial employees


Helsinki (05.07.2010 - Juhani Artto) Work-related exhaustion may even be fatal for industrial employees who are under 45 years of age. Work-related exhaustion almost trebles their death risk. This has been established in a study* made by researchers of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. The finding stresses the urgency of prevention of work-related exhaustion among younger employees.

The study was the first of its kind in the world. It was conducted in the forest industry. The sample for the statistical study involved over 7,000 employees. A similar increase in the risk of death, as a consequence of the work-related exhaustion, was not found among older employees.

Work-related exhaustion is a consequence of excessive workload that has continued over a long period. It may be caused, for example, by long-enduring contradictions at the work place or work goals that cannot be achieved, the researchers explain.

Symptoms of work-related exhaustion are general formidable fatigue, doubts on the work's relevance and lessening of belief in achievements. Out of these three, formidable fatigue was found to be the most serious symptom.

An excessive workload that continues for a long time has a negative impact on a person's organs. It may also promote an unhealthy way of life choices. On the other hand illnesses can increase the risk of an excessive workload.

Among the mildly or seriously exhausted the most common causes of death were tumour (34 per cent), accident (26 per cent), suicide (26 per cent) and coronary decease (22 per cent).

Work-related exhaustion can be prevented by keeping workloads moderate and by making sure working conditions also otherwise good. What is vital is that there are the means and opportunity that allow for talking about problems and solving them at the workplace.

A sustained recovery from work-related exhaustion demands strengthening of individual resources and changes in the work situation.

*Burnout as a predictor of all-cause mortality among industrial employees: A 10-year prospective register-linkage study, Journal of Psychosomatic Research volume 69, issue 1, pages 51-57 - Abstract
http://www.jpsychores.com/article/S0022-3999%2810%2900007-3