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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 4 - 10  > Number of workers suffering from work-related mental disorders hits a record high
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2018 July 4 - 10 [LABOR]

Number of workers suffering from work-related mental disorders hits a record high

July 7, 2018
The number of workers whose mental illnesses were recognized as work-related in 2017 topped the 500 mark for the first time, the Labor Ministry announced on July 6.

In a survey on workers’ compensation that the ministry conducted last year, the number of workers who developed mental disorders such as depression because of overwork or other work-related factors hit a record high of 506, up eight from a year earlier. Of them, 98 committed or attempted suicide, 14 more than the previous year.

Among the workers who were awarded workers’ compensation, 211 worked less than 100 hours of overtime per month on average. This calls into question the recently-enacted “work-style reform” legislation which sets the legal upper limit of overtime at 100 hours a month. Concerning the causes of the mental disorders, 154 cases were attributable to heavy workloads or the quality of work including excessively long working hours and 112 were due to power harassment or other types of personal relationship problems at the workplace. By industry, 87 workers worked in the manufacturing industry, 82 in the medical and nursing-care industries, and 65 in the wholesale and retail industries.

The same survey indicates that the number of workers whose brain or heart diseases were found to be work-related remains at a high level, 99, although down seven from a year earlier. Of them, 92 died.

Among all industries, the transportation and postal industries were tainted with occupational brain/heart diseases the most: 99 workers were awarded workers’ compensation with 40 of them dying.

Kawahito Hiroshi, secretary general of the national liaison council of lawyers tackling the issue of death from overwork, commented on the survey results. Noting that the number of applications for workers’ compensation jumped, he said that this means that the issue of overwork-related illnesses and overwork-induced deaths is very serious. Kawahito stressed that the figures revealed in the survey were only the tip of the iceberg and that the government should do more to look into the actual conditions of workers and take measures to prevent deaths from overwork.

Past related articles:
> Let's stop 'zero-overtime-payment' system from coming into force! [June 30, 2018]
> Number of workers recognized as suffering from work-induced mental illnesses hovering [July 1, 2017]

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