10 October 2016
Stress levels have risen across the economy, a TUC study has revealed today, and is now at the top of health and safety officers’ list of workplace hazards.
Altogether, 70% of 1,000 health and safety reps surveyed cited stress as a particular problem in their workplace, up three percentage points since 2014, with rises in concern over the impact of stress seen across all 11 regions in the UK.
Public sector workers are particularly hard hit, especially those in central government, where 93% of health and safety reps described stress as a key hazard. The TUC pointed to relentless government cuts as a source of lower wellbeing among this section of the workforce.
Those in the private sector are not faring much better, however, with substantial increases in worker stress seen at firms of all sizes, but particularly in medium-sized companies where 75% of reps now report it as a key concern, up from 62% two years ago.
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said: “Pressures of long working hours and low job security are being felt in workplaces across the UK.
“It’s in no-one’s interests to have overstretched workforces. People who experience high anxiety are less productive and are more likely to take time off. Stress is preventable if staff have reasonable workloads, supportive managers and a workplace free from violence, bullying and harassment.”
Employers’ attitudes may be the first that need to change after recent research showed that discrimination against people suffering from psychological symptoms is still a major factor in the workplace.
A survey of 20,000 people by charity Business in the Community showed that one in ten people who have experienced mental ill health were disciplined or dismissed as a result.
Legal, trade union and academic experts will discuss this and other key topics at our forthcoming Health and Safety Update on 18 October in London. Book now.