Work-related Illnesses

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Work-related Illnesses
Work-related Illnesses

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Video: Workplace Mental Health - all you need to know (for now) | Tom Oxley | TEDxNorwichED 2023, January
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Work-related illnesses

Currently in Austria only diseases listed in the ASVG are considered occupational diseases. However, illnesses can also be caused by occupational activities that have nothing to do with physically or chemically hazardous substances. If these make the work impossible or are made worse by the work, the employer has a duty to look for possible remedies. In addition, there are publicly accessible support offers.

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  • Psychological and psychosomatic complaints
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Inter-company support offers

Since the actuarial term “occupational diseases” is very precisely defined, all other illnesses that may also have arisen through professional work are called “work-related” or “work-induced” diseases. These include both psychological, such as depression or anxiety disorders, and physical, such as musculoskeletal disorders.

Psychological and psychosomatic complaints

High occupational stress or work situations with little room for maneuver often cause high emotional pressure. A variety of diseases can be the result. Work-related illnesses can be of a psychosomatic nature, for example. Physical complaints occur, the emotional causes of which are often not immediately recognized. These include, for example, skin diseases such as psoriasis, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, impairments of the immune system such as allergies, asthma or tinnitus.

Overloading physical and mental activities in combination with poor work organization, stressful work environment or poor social relationships in the workplace can bring a person to the limits of their individual capabilities (burnout). Impairments in the working atmosphere, unfair employers or uncooperative colleagues have been perceived more and more urgently in recent years compared to other types of stress.

With all of these illnesses, it can hardly be proven that the workload was the cause. In fact, they often result from a combination of relationship or family problems and pressures at work.

Musculoskeletal disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders such as spinal column damage etc. are not occupational diseases in Austria. The principle applies here: prevention is better! Of course, it cannot be denied that many musculoskeletal disorders such as lower back pain, tension pain in the neck and shoulders, painful knees or swollen ankles are caused or exacerbated by work. However, since the privately caused proportion of these diseases can never be precisely determined, recognition as an occupational disease must be ruled out.

If such complaints make work impossible or are made worse by work, the employer has a duty to seek possible remedies. Maybe a different arrangement of the workplace, changed processes or a different division of activities in the company will help.

Inter-company support offers

If the in-house adaptation options have been exhausted, there are also publicly accessible support offers. For example, the free, inter-company program Fit2Work supports:

  • Workers to maintain their ability to work, to find solutions to problems in the workplace or to discover other areas of activity;
  • Unemployed people to regain their ability to work, discover new areas of activity and quickly get back to work.

With the help of an internet self-test you can consider whether you want to take advantage of this opportunity.

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