North Carolina Reported Worst State in Country for Heart-Stress Death Rate Among Workers

The North Carolina News & Observer reported on June 21, 2008, that North Carolina leads all 50 states when it comes to a scary statistic. The heart-stress death rate for workers in the state is 2.36 per 100,000. Even the second worst state, Florida, boasts a much healthier rate of 0.76 per 100,000.

These numbers suggest that North Carolina workers may be feeling more stress at work than those working in other states – stress that can lead to a 40 percent greater chance of heart attacks and heart failure than those who are not affected by large amounts of stress in the workplace.

Stress in the workplace comes at a high cost for all involved, from the company itself, to its employees at all levels. Stress weakens the immune system, makes workers’ mentally distracted, and costs companies billions a year in lost hours, insurance claims, and lowered productivity. In fact, stress claims are beginning to be the single most costly claim in workers’ compensation cases across the state. Medical studies have estimated that 50 to 80 percent of all diseases are stress related in some way.

How can you make your workplace a healthier place and prevent injuries and health problems? Ask your manager for stress management training and education. Increase open communication in your office in order to avoid workplace conflicts and ensure that everyone is talking about how they are feeling during taxing times. Make sure that you set realistic goals for production and promote a healthy and supportive attitude. Ask about an exercise and/or health or wellness program that helps both body and mind.

The best way to tackle stress in general, however, is simple awareness of the problem. Talk with coworkers and step back and analyze your own career – are you feeling too much stress in your job? 
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