Arthritis and the Workplace

Did you know?

2.4 million Australians of working age have arthritis. Over half of $7.6 billion related to arthritis can be attributed to productivity costs reflecting reduced employment rates and an increase in absenteeism resulting from arthritic conditions
The average weekly earnings for each respective age group, the annual cost of lost earnings due to workplace separation and early retirement due to arthritis is estimated as $3.7 billion in 2007.

In 2005, it is estimated that 224,000 Australians aged between 15 and 64 took time off work each year due to arthritis including 125,000 males and 99,000 females.

Access Economics estimated that in 2007, the total cost of absenteeism due to arthritis is $304 million.

For people age 15-64 with arthritis, the estimated annual cost due to lost productivity from premature death is $7.5 million in 2007.

What can you do?

Arthritis affects approximately 11% of the Australian workforce which means a significant number of people may need help to make their daily tasks easier.  Obtaining the right information is important to help you learn how to conserve your energy and protect your joints so that you can reduce the impact of your arthritis.
There are many appliances available that can make your daily tasks easier and less tiring. Using the right appliance such as a jar opener, places less stress on the wrist joint.

If you need specific information in relation to your work environment or would like a community session at your workplace contact our assistance line on 1800 011 041 or

The Independent Living Centre ( or 1300 885 886) or an occupational therapist can also advise you on suitable aids and equipment that can make life at work or in the home easier.