Occupational health

Health Impact of The Psychosocial Hazards of Work: An Overview

Psychosocial risks go hand in hand with the experience of work-related stress. Longitudinal studies and systematic reviews have indicated that stress at work is associated with heart disease, depression, and musculoskeletal disorders and there is consistent evidence that high job demands, low control, and effort-reward imbalance are risk factors for mental and physical health problems, thereby leading to further strain on public spending for increased costs on healthcare.

Despite the available evidence, the prevention and management of psychosocial risks has not been high on the policy making agenda. Consequently, the Commission for the Social Determinants of Health (2008) recommended that while occupational health and safety policies remain of critical importance, the evidence strongly suggests the need to expand the remit of occupational health and safety to include work-related stress and harmful behaviours.

This review specifically considered two areas of health impact: psychological and social health (burnout, depression and other common mental disorders, and social and behavioural health) and physical health (musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome and diabetes). Overall this report provides comprehensive evidence on the impact of psychosocial hazards on a number of health outcomes.

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