Workplace Stress Noted as One of the Highest Health and Safety Risks for Workers

Workplace Stress Noted as One of the Highest Health and Safety Risks for Workers

The Trade Union Congress has recently announced that workplace stress is one of the highest risks to the UK workforces wellbeing. According to a recent survey carried out by the TUC, where they asked health and safety representatives what their highest concern for employees health, 67 per cent answered work place stress as their biggest concern.

Understandably we all get stressed in work from time to time however these recent results highlight just how common stress from the work place can be and what kind of effect it can be having on the economy. According to stats published by the HSE [1] , roughly 39% of all workplace illness is down to stress. This equated to a staggering total of 11.3 million days lost during 2013/14.

Over a three year period the most common reasons for workplace stress were cited as:

1. Workload pressures including scheduling, shift work and other organisational factors;

2. Interpersonal relationships including difficulties with superiors and bullying or harassment; and

3. Changes at work including reduction of resource or staff and additional responsibilities.

Another concern that has been found is that from the total of 487,000 cases reported to the HSE of work place stress 266,000 of these were reported by females, over 40,000 more than males. This difference is hard to explain and there is no definitive answers however factors such as pregnancy could contribute to a females workplace stress.

Of course there are many other factors that can contribute to stress and work may just be “the straw on the camel’s back” for many people but it is extremely important for employees, managers and health and safety reps alike to read up on how to manage workplace stress amongst their employees. Full management guidelines have been published and can be found via the HSE here [2].

CSP national health and safety officer Donna Steele has made the following comments in light of the TUC survey

It’s a problem that’s not going away,

Organisational restructures were the main cause of stress, but other triggers included job demands, bullying, and work environment,’

‘There’s a lot of change going on in the health services and safety reps have a really good role to play,’ Ms Steele said.

They can conduct a stress survey of members and present evidence to employers that they need to undertake a risk assessment. They can also consult closely with the safety rep on possible solutions.

A survey allows members to raise their concerns through their rep – rather than having to try and deal with an untenable situation on their own‘. [3]

On top of workplace stress, health and safety reps also noted that bullying and harassment, back strains and slips, and trips and falls also ranked among the top five hazards.