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Crying shame
Most of us have seen someone reduced to tears by work stresses. But crying can be just the start of it. Some workers get so distressed they opt for suicide. Hazards 101, February 2008

Drop dead It's the thoroughly modern way to die at work. Top occupational diseases of the 21st century will be heart attacks, suicide and strokes. Hazards argues that none of us should be worked into the ground.
Special online briefing, Hazards, 5 August 2003

Worked to death the cases aren't rare. They are just not statistics. Doctor
Sid Watkins died when his body could no longer stand the "crazy" hours.
Stressed out teacher Pamela Relf killed herself. So did mental health nurse
Richard Pocock. All died because their jobs were just too much to bear.
Hazards 83, July-September 2003 [pdf]

News

 

 

Britain: Job stress led to suicide
The pressure of an unwanted promotion led to a young professional's suicide, an inquest has heard. On his 29th birthday, 30 May this year, Benjamin Cheung drove his BMW to a secluded train station car park and stabbed himself three times with a kitchen knife.
Preston CitizenRisks 430 • 31 October 2009

France: Firm moves to end work suicides
After union protests over 24 workers killing themselves in 18 months, France Télécom boss Didier Lombard says he wants a “new social contract” with trade unions. Suicide notes have blamed high levels of work stress on workers’ decisions to end their lives and Lombard - whose number two, Louis-Pierre Wenes, resigned this week after intense criticism of the company’s handling of the crisis - has promised to ease up on workforce mobility, which has been a bone of contention.
France Télécom statement and news releaseRadio FranceBBC News OnlineThe GuardianRisks 427 • 10 October 2009

France: suicidehotlineplan
France Telecom has promised to set up a free hotline for workers suffering from stress after the 23rd suicide by one of its employees in 18 months. The move followed a crisis meeting between the French labour minister, Xavier Darcos, and France Telecom's chief executive, Didier Lombard.
BBC News OnlineConnected ResearchHazards suicide webpagesRisks 424 • 19 September 2009

Global: Work pressures lead to suicide problem
Reports from Ireland, France, the USA and the UK have identified a sharp rise in suicide risks related to work. These follow 'Crying shame', a report last year from Hazards magazine, that warned work factors could account for up to 250 suicide deaths in the UK each year.
Irish ExaminerTruthout translation of L'Humanité articleUS Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and Occupational suicides: Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, BLS, USA, August 2009 [pdf]. Hazards work-related suicide webpagesRisks 423 • 12 September 2009

USA: Big leap in suicides at work
The recession may be driving more people to take their lives at work, new statistics from the US suggest. The number of people who killed themselves at work in the US rose 28 per cent to an all-time high last year.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries • Business Insurance • The Guardian • Hazards work-related suicide webpages • Risks 421 • 29 August 2009

Europe: Warning on recession related death risk
The stress triggered by job losses could see suicides rise across Europe if governments fail to take preventive action, according to a new study. Researchers concluded that soaring stress brought on by job losses could prompt a 2.4 per cent rise in suicide rates in people under 64 years of age, a 2.7 per cent rise in heart attack deaths in men between 30 and 44 years, and a 2.4 per cent rise in homicides rates.
LSHTM news release. David Stuckler and others. The public health effect of economic crises and alternative policy responses in Europe: an empirical analysis, The Lancet, 8 July 2009 • Science DailyThe GuardianSky NewsBBC News OnlineRisks 414 • 11 July 2009

Australia: Bullying blamed for apprentice suicide
The suicide of a teenage apprentice, tormented while working for a state government contractor in New South Wales, Australia, has highlighted the problem of workplace bullying. Alec Meikle, 16, was an apprentice with rail contractor Downer Edi, where his workmates threatened to rape him and set him on fire.
Live News • More on work-related suicideRisks 412 • 4 July 2009

Japan: Record numbers worked to death
Record numbers of Japanese workers were worked to death last year, according to official compensation figures. A total of 269 cases qualified for state compensation last year, one up on the preceding year and a record high for the third straight year.
Japan TodayRisks 410 • 13 June 2009

Britain: Job problems drove school head to suicide
A headmaster hanged himself after discovering that the parents of a pupil were bringing a tribunal complaint about his school, an inquest has heard. Neil Sears, 52, who was found hanging from a heating pipe in the boiler room at Meadowgate School, in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, on 20 January this year left a note on a fax machine, which read: “I just give up, sorry.”
The TelegraphWisbech StandardNorfolk Eastern Daily PressPeterborough TodayHazards occupational suicide webpagesRisks 410 • 13 June 2009

Britain: Schools pressure linked to mental illness
Schools are blighted by stress-induced mental illness and many teachers face burn-out before they retire, according to teaching union NUT. It says teachers in England and Wales have an almost 40 per cent greater rate of suicide than the general population.
The GuardianCrying shame, Hazards 101, 2008Risks 402 • 18 April 2009

Global: Job insecurity linked to suicides
Researchers in France have identified a clear correlation between job insecurity and suicidal tendencies. American psychologists have coined the phrase “econocide” to describe a wave of suicides they say are linked to the current global economic crisis, and the phenomenon has also been recognised in the UK, where Edinburgh University’s Professor Stephen Platt said an upturn in suicides “is not only because more people become unemployed and, as a result, more psychologically vulnerable, but also because those in employment feel threatened too.”
HESA news reportBBC News OnlineMore on work-related suicide risksRisks 399 • 28 March 2009

USA: Army recruiters describe job nightmare
The suicides of four US Army recruiters from a single battalion has focused lawmakers and veterans advocates on the enormous stress endured by soldiers tasked with refilling the ranks of the country’s all-volunteer military. In response to the deaths, the Army suspended all recruiting nationwide last week to focus on leadership training, suicide prevention and the health of its 8,900 recruiters.
Houston Chronicle • Hazards website. www.hazards.org/suicideRisks 394 • 21 February 2009

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