Overworking staff costs more than it saves

by 15 Mar 2012

A new report has revealed that overworked and stressed employees cost business more than $30bn every year, and workplace injuries, sickness and fatalities ring in a tab of more than $60bn – but the longer-term costs in lost productivity are much higher.

Research from Safe Work Australia has shown that a worker who does work which is stressful on both their body and mind is more likely to suffer a job-related injury and illness. The report also found that while the number of workplace fatalities fell in 2009-10 during the GFC, the statistics are creeping back up. Indeed workplace relations minister Bill Shorten is expected to soon announce a campaign which will call for annual reporting to Parliament on workplace fatality figures.

The cost of workplace injuries is predictably high in the labouring and trade sectors ($7.9bn and $10.6bn respectively), but figures are also notably high among managers and administrators, where $9.6bn is spent each year on job-related illness and injuries.

Key findings from the report included:

  • Over one-third of the total number of cases and total economic cost are associated with body stressing or manual-handling cases.
  • Mechanisms more associated with disease, such as sound and pressure, biological factors and mental stress, have a higher unit cost than those associated with injuries (such as falls and trips).
  • While mental stress cases comprise 4% of workplace injury claims they comprise 9% of the total cost.
  • More than one third of employees said having too much responsibility or “burnout” was the main reason they took sick leave when they are not ill, and topped the list of reasons to take a sick day.


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  • by James Reye 15/03/2012 1:56:10 PM

    Which injuries and illnesses were managers most afflicted by?

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