Work Stress Is 5th Leading Cause Of Death

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day: The Healthy Work Campaign urges businesses to prevent harmful work stress by using its Healthy Work Survey.

Work stressors are a leading cause of chronic illness, contributing to burnout, depression, musculoskeletal disorders, workplace injuries, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases. With Friday, April 28 recognized as Workers Memorial Day, the Healthy Work Campaign is using the moment to highlight that there are more than 120,000 deaths caused by work stress every year, making it the 5th leading cause of death.

In addition to costing many workers their health and their lives, unhealthy work also costs businesses hundreds of billions of dollars every year in health care, absenteeism, and lost productivity.

Healthy Work
(Source: Healthy Work Campaign)


The Healthy Work Campaign recently launched a new tool, the Healthy Work Survey, to address this crisis. This online survey is entirely anonymous, and free for individuals and organizations to use to measure work stressors. The campaign is sponsored by the Los Angeles, CA-based Center for Social Epidemiology, a non-profit research foundation.

“The Healthy Work Survey is a potentially revolutionary resource to improve workplace conditions affecting mental health, physical health, and productivity by allowing the identification of workplace stressors quickly and without cost,” said Dr. Peter Schnall, Director of the Center for Social Epidemiology.

Businesses, government agencies, counties, and nonprofits have already used the Healthy Work Survey to implement solutions to their workplace challenges. The survey has already been completed by thousands of workers.

“Work stress is a health crisis, but it doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to improve mental and physical health, by assessing and reducing the sources of stress at work,” said Dr. Marnie Dobson, Director of the Healthy Work Campaign.

Killed At Work:
U.S. Worker Memorial Database

The Killed at Work: U.S. Worker Memorial Database is a volunteer effort to document and map the annual toll of workers who die on the job. The database includes over 3,900 fatalities with names and detail where available, from 2014 through 2022.

This is a subset of the total U.S. deaths from workplace trauma identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows 5,250 fatalities in 2018.

You can search the Killed at Work: U.S. Worker Memorial Database and view data from every year, as well as search by state, industry, worker name and keyword. You can also see interactive maps of the data, report a fatality, and find out more information about the database.