Discussion paper

Scand J Work Environ Health 2021;47(4):318-327    pdf full text


Developing a cost-estimation model for work–related stress: An absence-based estimation using data from two Italian case studies

by Russo S, Ronchetti M, Di Tecco C, Valenti A, Jain A, Mennini FS, Leka S, Iavicoli S

Objectives This paper discusses the development of a cost-estimation model for work-related stress based on psychosocial risk exposure and absence from work. It presents findings from its implementation and evaluation in two organizations in Italy, using national-level tools developed by the Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority (INAIL). It also provides recommendations for the development of similar cost-calculation methods in other countries.

Methods The cost-estimation model was based on the human capital approach using an indirect cost indicator: loss of productivity due to days of absence attributable to work-related stress.

Furthermore, the population attributable fraction (PAF) epidemiological measure was used to calculate the impact of exposure to work-related stress on the basis of data collected through validated tools developed by INAIL and salary cost data.

Results The developed model was implemented and evaluated in two organizations, the first in healthcare (N=1014) and the second in public administration (N=534). In the first case, it was found that absence related to work-related stress cost the organization €445 000. In the second case, the cost was €360 000.

Conclusions The proposed model provides an example of how organizations can incorporate well-established indicators associated with work-related stress (eg, various types of absence, psychosocial risk perception, loss of productivity on the basis of salary costs) in a practical way in cost estimations of work-related stress. Such cost estimation can be applied in other countries and organizations to establish the economic and business case of managing work-related stress.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2009;35(6):403-413  2009;35(6):413-420  2010;36(4):313-318  2010;36(4):273-288  2020;46(2):127-142