Workplace stress reaches record levels, says TUC
Stress in the workplace is the biggest hazard for UK workforces, according to a study published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
The TUC biennial survey of more than 1,000 health and safety reps around the UK asks the to pick out the hazards at work that trouble the and their workforces the most.
This year, stress topped the list, with 70% of respondents citing it as a problem, a higher proportion than in any previous TUC study.
Stress is one of the main causes of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.
Among other things the survey found that:
- concerns about stress are higher in the public sector than the private sector, 93% of central government cited it as a top five workplace hazard, compared to 89% in education and 82% in health services.
- Stress is the most common concern regardless of the size of the workplace.
- Stress is the most widespread concern in all 11 regions and countries in the UK, with the biggest increases in Northern Ireland, the North, and Scotland.
Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “The message from the shop floor is clear, stress is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. Pressures of long working hours and low job security are being felt in workplaces across the UK.
“People who experience high anxiety are less productive and 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.”
TUC has published guidance on dealing with stress at work and how employers can promote positive mental health. It highlights three key points:
- Stress is not a weakness or your fault: it can affect anyone at any time.
- Don’t let the stigma of mental health force you to suffer in silence: but instead talk to someone like your union rep, a friend, your GP or a support service.
- Stress-related illnesses caused by work are preventable. Employers have a legal responsibility to reduce or remove anything at work that could make you ill – and that includes workplace stress.
Sleep and Fatigue: Director’s Briefing
Fatigue is common amongst the population, but particularly among those working abnormal hours, and can arise from excessive working time or poorly designed shift patterns. It is also related to workload, in that workers are more easily fatigued if their work is machine-paced, complex or monotonous.
This free director’s briefing contains:
- Key points;
- Recommendations for employers;
- Case law;
- Legal duties.