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Study finds harassment and bullying linked to cardiovascular disease

harassment and bullying in mining
Harassment and bullying can lead to increase risk of cardiovascular disease

An ongoing extensive investigation by Scandinavian researchers has discovered that employees who work in toxic work environments where harassment and bullying are prevalent are more likely to contract a cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The study included information from almost 80 000 people from Denmark and Sweden.

The researchers included participants from a date range between 1995 and 2011, involved about 80,000 workers between the ages of 18 and 65 who had no earlier occurrence of cardiovascular disease.

Participants were surveyed on harassment, bullying or violence at the start of the study and were followed throughout the analysis.

The researchers then examined the incidence of cardiovascular disease, including the first hospitalizations for coronary heart disease or cerebrovascular disease, identified through “nationwide registries based on the International Classification of Disease (ICD) 8, 9 and 10 codes.”

They found that 9 per cent of participants said they were bullied at work and 13 per cent reported they experienced violence or threats within the past year. Workplace bullying and experiencing violence were linked to a 59 per cent and 25 per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease, respectively, after adjustments for age, sex, education, marital status and country of birth.

The study findings were released in the European Heart Journal.

In another recent local study completed by the Western Australian Government on FIFO issues, researchers found rates of psychological distress, workplace harassment and bullying together with burnout have been shown to be significantly higher among fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers than their non-FIFO counterparts.

The McGowan Government-funded research involved more than 3000 FIFO workers and their families, and the partnership of industry, unions and researchers from Curtin University.

WA Mental Health Minister Roger Cook said the study was initiated by a number of deaths by suicide by FIFO workers.

Thirty-three per cent or almost double the number of FIFO workers experienced high levels of psychological distress compared to only 17 per cent of non-FIFO workers.

Read more on the FIFO worker study

Read more mining safety news

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