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Work Stress and Death from Overwork

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    Work Stress and Death from Overwork 科技信息0本刊重稿02007年第21

    WorkStressandDeathfromOverwork

    ChangHsiu-hua

    (MarketingDepartment,QingDaoUniversity,266071china)

    Abstract:TheJapanesehaveawordfordeathfromoverwork

    "Karoshi"andinChinaitiscalledas"guolaosi",itisanoccupationalsudden death.ThemajormedicalcausesofKaroshideathsareheartattackandstrokeduetostressincludingsubarachnoidalhemorrhage(18.4%),cerebral

    hemorrhage(17|2%),cerebralthrombosisorinfraction(6.8%),myocardialinfraction(9.8%),heartfailure(18.7%),andothercauses(29.1%).

    VictimsofKarashiareseldomcompensatedundertheJapaneseworkers'compensationsystem;nearly1000victimsofdeathfromworkinJapan

    appliedforworkers!compensationeachyearandjusthave5to10%grantedapprova1.In2002,therewere160personsrecognizedas"deathfrom

    overwork"byMinistryofLaborinJapan.EstfmatedbyscholarsEtsuroTotsukaandToshioUeyanangiintheiressaypublishedin1991thatmore

    than10.000workersdiefromwork

    relatedcardiovasculardiseasesinJapaneachyear.Fromthereport,theagesbetween4Oto60occupied70%and

    maleworkersoccupied94%.

    Atpresent,"deathfromoverwork"isnolongeruniquetoJapan.Followingbyeconomiccompetitionanddevelopment,theworkersinChinaare

    alsosufferinghighworkstressandthecasesofdeathfromoverworkaregettingmoreandmore.InNoahAmericaandWesternEurope,anumberof

    studieshavedemonstratedasignificantrelationshipbetweenhighworkstress(highproductiondemandsandlowlevelsofcontrolandsocialsupport)

andcardiovasculardisease.'

    Keywords:Karoshi;deathfromoverwork;workstress

    1.Relafionshipbetweenworkstressanddeathfrom

    overwork

    Ahhoughtherelationshipofthecauseandeffectbetweenwork stressanddeathfromoverworkstillcannotbeestablishedatpresent, accordingtomedicalresearch.itcanbefoundthatanovertimeworker willeasilysufferfromcardiovasculardisease.andtheirprobabilityis5

    2O%highel-whencomparedwiththeordinarypeoplewhofacedlower workstress.Thedeftnitionof"deathfromoverwork"isinterpretedas"a suddendeathcausedbylongperiodofchronicfatigue''bymedical specialist,i.e.owingtothechronicfatiguecausedbylongperiodof overtimeworkandhighstressexertedbothonpsychologyandphysiology. Fromthepointofthestudy,acomparativerelationshipdoesexist betweenworkstressanddiseaseoccurrence.Accordingtothe informationfromthereportandstudycollected.thecasesofworkstress anddeathfromoverworkaroundtheworldarebrieflystatedasfollows. 1.1TheKaroshiconditionabroad

    SomeJapaneseworkersworkexcessivelyhardanddiefrom

    overwork.Stressandfatiguefromlonghoursonthej0baremajorcause leadingtoillhealth,includingheartattacksandstrokes. Aleadinglifeinsurancecompanyhasinvestigated500malewhite

    collarworkersintop-rankingcorporationsinTokyo.'rIlereportshows that46percentofworkerswereanxiousabouttheirownriskofkaroshi. Aquarterofthenlexperiencedcomplaintsfromtheirfamiliesrelatedto anxietyaboutkaroshi.Around5to20percentoftheworkersthemselves areafraidofthehighriskofkaroshi.rhisfearincreasedwithage.The reportalsoshowsthatfamilymembersaremuchmoreafraidthanthe workersthemselves.Nowadays.therearealmostnoworkerswhodonot knowtheword"karoshi".ManyJapaneseworkersandtheirfamiliesare

anxiousaboutkaroshi.

    Thefirstcaseofkaroshjwasreportedin1969withthedeathfroma strokeofa29-yearoldmarriedmaleworkerinthedeliverydepartment ofJapanslargestnewspapercompany.Itwasnotuntilthelatterpartof the1980s,however,whenseveralhighrankingbusinessexeantiveswho

    werestillintheirprimeyearssuddenlydiedwithoutanyprevioussignof illness,themediabeganpickingPonwhatappearedtobeanew phenomenon.Thisnewphenomenonwasquicklylabeledkaroshi.and onceithadanalneanditssymptomsweredescribedandpopularized,it wasimmediatelyseenasanewandseriousmenaceforpeopleinthe workforce.In1987,aspublicconcernincreased,theJapaneseMinistry ofLaborbegantopublishstatisticsonkaroshi.

    Thefollowingexamplesarethecasesofdeathfromoverworkunder workstressreportedinJapan.

    Mr.kanameda,whosedeathwasapprovedworkrelatedbytheLabor

    StandardOffice,workedatamajorsnackfoodprocessingcompanyforas longas110hoursaweek(notamonth)anddiedfromheartattackatthe ageof34.

    Abusdriver,whosedeathwasalsoapprovedworkrelated,worked

    morethan3000hoursayear,keptonworkingfor15dayswithouttaking arestiustbeforehisfallfromstrokeattheageof37.

    Mr.Miyazaki,whosewidowgetworkerscompensationawardonly after14yearsofhisdeath,workedattheworld'sbiggestprinting companyinTokyofor4320hoursayearincludingmidnightworkand diedfromstrokeattheageof58.

    MissYoshida.a22yearoldnurse.diedfromheartattackafter

    pursuingconsecutive34hoursdutyfivetimesamonth.Miss1wata,23

    year-oldtelleratamajorbank,workedillegalovertimeover50hoursa monthanddiedfromanasthmaattack.

    Mr.Yagi,whoworkedover70hoursaweekatanadvertisingagency

    andspent3.5hours/dayincommuting,diedfromheartattackatageof 43.HeobservedthatmodernJapaneseworkersareworkingundermore inhumanconditionsthanslaves.Inhispersonaldiary,hewrote"Weare boughtbymoneyandboundtothehours.Evenslaveswillhavetimeto takemealswiththeirfamilymembers."

    SatoshiNagayama,aworkerataprominentconstructionfirm, plungedtohisdeathfromthelOthfloorofhisoffice.Hewasonly28and hadworkedatthefirmforaboutfiveyears.t

    Mr.Nagayana,acivilenneer,hadbeassigneddutiesthat

    requiredspecialknowledgeoutsidehisprofessionaltraining.Hestmggled withtheneww0rkload,puttingin116hour80fovertimeduringtheIT10nth ofhisdeath.He6nallyaccoITIplishedhistask,buthekilledhimselfthe nextday.

    InEnglishtlre'isnowoIdf0rdotingyoursdftodeath,butas

    moreandmorepek'putinlongerhoursandsuflfermorestressthere mays0onbe.

    InAugust2OO5,anAmericansunreyconcludedthatlongw0rking h0uincreasedanindividual,schancesof.1lnessandinjury.Itnoted thatf0rthosedoing12hoursadatherewasa37%increaseinrisk c0mparedtothworkingfwerhours.

    In2o03,SidWains,apediacianwhowashausteder

    w0rkingupt01o0hoursaweek,dieder.njectinghirnselfwith

    anestheticinanattempttocewithhisworkload.ThecoroneratDr

    Watkinsinquestdescedthehour8hehadtoworkas"crazy".

    In1994,thepartsofAlanMassie,ajuniordocIorwhoc0used

    aIlddiedafterworkingan86hourweekataCheshirehospital,claimed

科技信息0本刊重稿0SCIENCE&TECHNOLOGYINFORMATION2007年第

2l

    becauseChinasneweliteisinterestedonlyinmakingmoney. VicedirectoroftheSubhealthResearchCenterofShahghai

    AcademyofSocialSciences,XiaGuomei,hastakenaparticularinterest inthecasesofmiddleagedintellectualswhodiedyoungfromoverwork. Shethinksthemajorcausewiththjsparticulargroupisthestresscoming fromcommunityresponsibility,personalrelationshipsandsocietys evaluationofthem.Manyofthehighlyqualifiedpeopleworkinginthe modernworldhavetomakeachievementsintheirfields,publishessays andtutorgraduatestudentsatthesame.Theseresponsibilitiesweegh heavy,andalongwiththehighersocialdemandsplaceduponthemthe intellectualsareundersignificantstress.Shesuggeststhatalthoughno employerhastherighttoexpectthelekesofresearchers.scholarsor professorstoworkovertime,manyworkmuchlongerthanthenob,oal eighthourdaywhichisapprovedbythestate.

    2.Workfeaturesofdeathfromoverwork

    Theworktypesof"deathfromoverwork''normallyhavethe followingfeatures

    2.1Longworkhours

    1'hepersonwhoworksover60hoursaweekaveragelyorhavehigh workstressandworkswholeday.Althoughthereisnodirectevidence showingthecauseandeffectrelationshipbetweenoverworkanddeath, overworkindeedhasacloserelationshiptothedisease.Fromthe informationofreport,apersonwhoisoverworkhashigheropportunityof sufferingfromcardiovasculardisease.

    2.2Highworkstress

    "Stress"willmaketheautonomicnervesystemofhumanbody appearabnormalconditionandcausebloodpressuretorise,quicken heatbeatandincreaseheartoxygen-consumption.Theseareimportant reasonsofcausingcardiovasculardisease.

2.3Dangerousfactorandalertsignal

    Thereasonof"deathfromoverwork"thatalwaysexistsinthe easternsocietyisprobablybecausethewesternpeoplecarldividetheir workandlifeaparteasilyworksshorterhours.Comparewiththeeastern people,thewe$ternpeopletreattheleisureactivitiesasamainpartof theirlife.itisalsothereasonwhyfewofthemhavethephenomenonof deathfromoverwork.Contrarily,thetightlifepaceofeasternpeopleand theirhighspiritpressurecausedthehormonesexcessiveexcretion.In addition.mostoftheeasternpeopledon'tknowhowtoslowdowntheir lifespaceandnegligenceoftheexhaustionsufferedbytheirbodyorgans andconsequentlyleadingtothereductionoftheimmunityaremajor factorsthatcausestheoccurrenceofdeathoveroverwork. 3.Thedangerousgroupandsymptomof"deathfrom

    overwork"

    3.1Dangerousgroupsof"deathfromoverwork"

    ?Excessiveworkinghoursoverashortperiod

    ?Longtermexcessiveworkburdens

    ?Irregularworkhours

    ?Longhourswithinadequatebreaks

    ?Frequentbusinesstrips

    ?Shiftworkandlatenightwork

    lHazardOUSphysicalworkingconditions

    ?Workrelatedstress.

    3.2Symptomof"deathfromoverwork''

    -theabilityofmemorygoesdown.-headache,chestdepressed poorcOncenratiOnofattention-poorappetite

    -short?ternIpered.irascibilityand-shoulderandnecknumbedwith pessimistictonicity

    -easilytired.depressedand-IiverfunctionabnormaI

    sleeplessness-earlybaldheaded

    -rapidlychangeofbodyweight-intestinesandstomach -alwayshavenobreakfastor-highbloodpressure,historyof irregularmealtimediabetes,irregular

    l?withposi~onchangedortransferredelectrocardiogram IpromotionorworkVOIUlme

    jincreasedrecently

    14

    4.Conclusion

    Thenumberofpeoplesufferingfromstressandstress-related conditionscausedormadeworsebyworkhasmorethandoubledsince 1990.ProfessorCaryCooper,astressexpertatLancasterUniversity ManagementSchool,saystheriskisnotjustconfinedtothosewhowork morethan60hoursbuthitsthosethatputinmorethan45. "Ifyouworkconsistentlylonghours,over45aweekeveryweek,it willdamageyourhealth,physicallyandpsychologically.IntheUKwe havethesecondlongestworkinghoursinthedevelopedworld,just behindtheStatesandwenowhavelongerhoursthanJapan,"hesays. Deathbyoverworkwithworkstress

    killer,employerscantturnablindeye.

    ProfCooperadvocates"working

    introducingflexibilityintotheworkplace.

    nowearmarkedasapotential

    smarter",notlonger,and

    Reference

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    March2.2006.

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