- People who suffer
from fainting episodes at work are at a 2 fold higher risk of losing their
- Fainting or syncope
can increase the risk for occupational accidents among people by 1.4 fold.
- People who are in
menial jobs and who handle heavy machinery are at an increased risk of
being injured from accidents.
or syncope is a condition in which there
is a temporary reduction in the blood flow
reaching the brain.
People who have fainting spells, especially at work, are at an increased risk
of occupational accidents and could even lose their job. This Danish study was
published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular quality and outcomes.
can result in a sudden loss of consciousness in the individual; however, it is
followed by spontaneous recovery. The study took into account people within the
ages of 18 and 64 and who complained of recurrent syncope, and compared them
with people who did not have the condition.
‘Fainting at work, especially among those who handle heavy machinery, could increase risk of job loss and occupational accidents.’
study findings showed that
- There was an
increase in the risk of occupational accidents by 1.4 fold.
- There was an
increased risk of job loss by 2 fold.
- 31% of people with syncope lost their jobs compared to 15%
in the control group.
- Risk of accidents
at work and job loss were more pronounced among people who were young, had
poor socioeconomic status, had depression or cardiovascular disease along
with recurrent syncope.
study was the first to analyze the association between syncope and conditions
at work, highlighting the need to address the condition. A research fellow at Copenhagen
cardiology department, Dr. Anna-Karin Nume, who is the first
author of the study said that the study helped in shedding light on a hidden
consequence of syncope that had never been associated or studied before.
individual who is employed needs to feel secure with the job and should be able
to maintain a full time employment. Insecurity at the workplace due to syncope
can however be stressful and cannot be measured in terms of mortality and
hospitalization. An employment not only helps the individual gain monetary
compensation in the form of a regular salary but can also help in improving
self-esteem, which reflects on the quality of life led by the individual.
Syncope and Its Effect on Employment:
data for the study was obtained from Denmark's population based National
registers, with the median age of the participants being 48 and 49.7% of them
being male. The research team selected 21,729
patients who needed to be
hospitalized or required emergency care after a first time diagnosis of
- 49.5% were employed at the time of the incident and returned
to work within a month of being discharged.
- 622 patients had a subsequent accident at the workplace.
- 36 of the patients had severe injuries like a fracture,
internal bleeding or a crush amputation.
- The accidents
were more among patients who were involved in menial jobs.
study was an association study as there was lack of information regarding the
work environment of the individual, the reason behind syncope, the habits and
the health of the individual. The study could be of relevance even in the
Western countries; however, differences in policies, health and social security
could affect results.
Nume stated that syncope can be managed effectively by including interventions
appropriate for the condition. This will help in securing employment and will
also aid in job selection whereby operating heavy equipment should be avoided.
The scientists believe that this study could help in stimulating more research
on why syncope leads to a loss in employment. There is an increased need to
raise awareness about finding jobs that are less risky and which does not
involve the use of heavy machinery for patients with syncope.
There are certain triggers which cause the
autonomous nervous system (ANS) that controls involuntary actions like heart
rate and blood pressure, to malfunction.
various environmental triggers include:
- Heat exposure
- Unpleasant sight
- Heavy sweating
- Emotional stress
- Sudden pain
- Sitting or
standing suddenly or standing for long periods
kind of syncope is also termed as neutrally mediated syncope
. When the ANS gets affected, there is a drop in blood
pressure and a slowing or interruption of the heart beat for a few seconds;
this inturn restricts blood flow and oxygen to the brain and the person loses
to do when someone Faints
the event that a colleague faints at the workplace, here are a few tips to
- Place the
individual on the floor. The legs should be raised up and the head should
be lower than the rest of the body so that there is improvement in the
blood circulation to the brain.
- Notice if the
color of their face is back to being healthy or if it still looks pale.
- Loosen any
clothing that could be restricting the flow of blood like a neck scarf or
- Remember not to
crowd around the patient as there should be fresh air around the
- Speak to the
patient and watch out for signs of recovery.
- If there is no
sign of recovery, call for medical help immediately.
is an unexpected incident in most cases and care should be taken to move the
patient away from harm's way as quickly as possible. Providing first aid at the
earliest possible instance is also essential. Identifying the trigger will help
lower incidences of fainting while improved awareness will help patients find
secure jobs that will boost their confidence, help them financially and mainly
prevent further accidents at workplaces.
- Martin H. Ruwald et al. Syncope and Its Impact on Occupational Accidents and Employment: A Danish Nationwide Retrospective Cohort Study. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, April 2017 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.116.003202