Mental health harm accounts for 17 per cent of work-related DALYs, cancers for 16 per cent and respiratory harm for 14 per cent, says Work-related health estimates.
Acute injuries – including fatalities – account for just 11 per cent, with hearing loss and heart disease responsible for 7 and 6 per cent respectively. The DALY measurement allows for meaningful comparisons between diseases with different harm profiles to determine which account for the largest burden of ill-health, says WorkSafe, as well as between work-related injuries and ill-health. The report estimates that 50,000 work-related DALYs are now lost annually, with a cost to the country’s economy at least NZ$2bn a year.
Workers in New Zealand are around 15 times more likely to die from work-related disease than a work-related accident, the document states. The country sees an estimated 5,000-6,000 hospitalisations a year as a result of work-related illness, with between 750 and 900 deaths.
“Deaths from work-related ill-health are at least an order of magnitude greater than deaths from work-related acute injury,” the report concludes.