Watch out – if you’re facing deadlines or if you work in the Information Technology (IT) field, two new studies indicate that your job may be hazardous to your health.
According to the first study, involving IT professionals working in India, work pressures and job demands are leading to musculoskeletal pain, possible infertility, and overall exhaustion. Approximately 300 IT professionals in Hyderabad, India, were involved in the study conducted by Dr. Bakhtiar Choudhary; over half reported that they were “terribly tired” after a day’s work while 18 percent felt “dead exhausted”; 46 percent also reported muscular pain.
"IT pros in the age group of 22 to 27 are considered highly successful, taking up tough projects and working for very long hours. Most of the times they live on junk food, sipping lots of coffee or soft drinks freely available at the vending machines," Choudhary told the Hindu Business Times of his study’s preliminary results. Aside from a poor diet, Choudhary also points to high pressure, long hours worked, and tight deadlines as sources of health concerns for IT workers.
Last week, a separate study also found that workers who regularly face the pressure of meeting work deadlines increase their risk of having a heart attack six-fold during the day following the deadline; competition at work was also found to potentially double that risk.
Nearly 1400 heart attack survivors, ages 45 to 70, were questioned regarding events happening around the time of their first heart attack, specifically regarding criticism received about their job performance or tardiness, promotions, lay-offs, deadlines, financial situations and changing jobs. Answers were then compared to the responses of 1700 separate workers who had never had a heart attack.
Results showed that intense pressure over a short period increased heart attack risk more than stress which was built up over time, and that heart attacks tended to follow shortly after the increased pressure. Approximately eight percent of the heart attack respondents reported a “significant” event at work less than 24 hours prior to having a heart attack. Long term changes that affected the respondents’ odds of having a heart attack included taking on extra responsibility at work deemed as “negative” by respondents. Deterioration in financial situation also tripled the risk of a heart attack among women.
Work-related stress has also been linked to an increased risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) as well as other health problems. Can ergonomics help? Some experts believe so. To find out more about how incorporating ergonomics into the workplace can reduce the sources of workplace stress, see Where Does Ergonomics Fit Into Stress Reduction? in The Ergonomics ReportTM.
Sources: Hindu Business Times; New Scientist UK