"Hard work never harmed anyone"


"Oh, come on, a bit of hard work never hurt anyone"
(BBC2 Newsnight presenter in a 1999 interview on long working hours in the UK)

• People with stressful jobs are twice as likely to die from heart disease, according to a 2002 study in the British Medical Journal.

• People who work over 48 hours per week have double the risk of heart disease, according to a 1996 UK government report.

• Long-term job strain is worse for your heart than gaining 40lbs in weight or aging 30 years, according to a 2003 US study.

• Work kills more than war. Approximately two million workers die annually due to occupational injuries and illnesses, according to a United Nations report. This is more than double the figure for deaths from warfare (650,000 deaths per year). Work kills more people than alcohol and drugs together.

• 82% of workers at the Department for Work and Pensions have suffered ill health as a result of pressure of work, according to a 2003 survey.

• The Health and Safety Executive reports that the number of people suffering from work-related stress has more than doubled since 1990.

• BBC News quotes the International Stress Management Association as saying: "Each year we conduct research into stress and each year the figure just keeps on getting worse."

• Rising stress at work is causing increasing numbers of young professionals to grind their teeth while they sleep, according to the British Dental Health Foundation.

• According to Hazards magazine, workers exposed to stress for at least half their working lives are 25% more likely to die from heart attack, and 50% more likely to die from a stroke. Manual workers are more prone to such illnesses than executives.

Sources: 'Work stress and risk of cardiovascular mortality...', British Medical Journal, 19 Oct 2002; The Money Programme, BBC2, 11 Feb 1996; 'Life course exposure to job strain...', American Journal of Epidemiology, 2003; UN International Labor Organisation SafeWork programme, April 2002; PCS survey, May 2003; Hazards magazine no. 81; BBC News Online, 7 Nov 2001; British Dental Health Foundation, 27 Jan 2000; Hazards magazine finding reported by JobServe: http://www.jobserve.com/news/NewsStory.asp?SID=SID2122