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October 23, 2008

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Stress tops safety reps’ concerns as economic slide begins to bite

Stress is the major concern of safety reps, according to a survey of those in the role by the TUC, which warns that the problem is likely to worsen as the financial slump takes hold.

Three in five safety reps reported stress or overwork as a concern in their workplace — with the highest instances in central government (81 per cent), education (74 per cent), and health services (69 per cent).

Injuries and illnesses resulting from the poor use of display-screen equipment jumped two places to become the second most common concern, reported by 41 per cent of reps. RSI (40 per cent) was the next most frequently reported hazard.

TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said: “Stress casts a gloomy shadow over far too many UK workplaces. And, as the current economic crisis creates more anxiety about job security, stress is likely to increase. Unions and employers must work together to combat this, as it can have a huge personal cost to workers and a damaging cost to business.”

He also slated the Government’s decision to reassess its plans to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of older children, and paid maternity leave, given the slump. Calling it an “astonishingly irrelevant response” to the downturn, Barber said: “Postponing a simple right to request flexible working would not save a single job in the small-business sector. If such a request harms the business, the owner can say ‘no’.”

To view the survey, go to the link below.

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