Injured workers' lifespans shorter, research suggests

People off work due to injury are likely to suffer high rates of depression and suicide, new research suggests.

The report on the relationship between work and health, to be presented at an Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine policy meeting in Auckland this week, also found injured workers could have a shorter lifespan.

Long-term absence from work could equal the damage caused by smoking 10 packets of cigarettes a day, and could be as dangerous as working in high-risk industries such as construction and oil drilling, the report said.

ACC director of clinical services Kevin Morris said the report focussed on identifying ways to keep injured workers "safely engaged" in the workforce.

"We are hoping that the position paper will be a tipping point in New Zealand, when the community starts to take on board the message that safely recovering at work delivers real heath benefits for injured people," he said.

"New Zealand must wake up to this message and embrace the health benefits of work."

Dr Morris said ACC was developing a range of early intervention services with doctors, employers and patients to make workplace rehabilitation easier, including the Better@Work trial.

The trial offered injured employees support to remain at work or reduce the amount of sick leave taken.


Add a Comment