A national survey of almost 800 workers has revealed that middle-age single parents are at highest risk of work stress.
Work is making more than one in 10 people ill, with high levels of stress prompting 13 per cent of employees to say they fear for their emotional or physical safety in their job.
The survey conducted by the suicide prevention group R U OK? found that the highest risk group for extreme stress at work was middle-age single parents.
Overall, 40 per cent of workers said a typical work day left them feeling tense or stressed out, with no differentiation between men and women. Only those just entering the workforce - 18- to 24-year-olds - appear to be stress-free in their jobs.
"Work stress has become pervasive, with many feeling it on a daily basis," the Age quoted Graeme Cowan, the director of R U OK? at Work, as saying.
"Particularly surprising was that half of all people said they didn't think management had procedures in place to make sure that little problems didn't turn into big problems," he added.
Cowan said one of the first indicators of stress or depression was a change in behaviour - a person becoming suddenly withdrawn or showing up consistently late for work.
"Unreliability is a red flag," he said.
"Unfortunately most managers ignore it ... But it's much better to take early intervention ...," he added.