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Stress and the Work Place
Posted by David Cant on February 29, 2012

Many people are aware of health and safety issues in the work place caused by poorly maintained machinery, the lack of risk assessments or slipping and tripping dangers. One of the other concerns found in work place safety is concerning stress. Work related stress is caused when a person is no longer able to cope with their workload or the demands being placed on them by their employer or their duties.

Many Problems Are Caused By Stress

Work related stress can lead to long absences from work and even lead to serious diseases and health conditions. This problem can also lead to underperforming departments and human error.  This is why stress has become an issue for health and safety in the work place. It needs to be managed and prevented. There are no specific industries which are recognised as having more stress related problems than others, it is a UK wide problem which needs to be looked at on a few levels to help prevent employees from being affected, as much as possible.

There are two ways that work related stress can be handled. One is to have the employee formally diagnosed. This can then be followed by a course of effective treatment and perhaps rehabilitation if necessary. The other method is to see what has led up to the stress and try and determine if the job can be altered to prevent anyone else suffering from the same effects.  The second method also needs to recognise that the individual circumstances and interventions also need to be looked at.

Management Standards for Work Related Stress

The way that the Health and Safety Executive try and approach work related stress is through their management standard approach.  These are conditions which can help to create good health, organisation and well-being in employees. By following these conditions it is possible to prevent illnesses and diseases caused in employees.  The management standards include six areas which are considered to be the most common causes of stress:

  1. Demands –This is directly related to the workload, environment and working patterns of employees
  2. Control – The amount of control and say an employee has over their work
  3. Support – The amount of resources available to employees and the encouragement they can receive through their managers and fellow colleagues
  4. Relationships – Positive attitudes in the workplace being promoted to avoid conflict
  5. Role – Making sure that all employees understand their duties within the workplace
  6. Change – Managing and communicating modification in the workplace

Legal Requirements

Stress is a difficult area which is constantly changing but it does need to be addressed and it is a legal issue noted under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and also in the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999. All levels of employees and employers have duties to abide by in managing, preventing and assisting the work place to deal with stress.

Health and safety training is a good way of ensuring line managers and supervisors have the skills and know-how of working in a safe environment and managing others effectively. Contact the health and safety consultants on 0800 1488 677 to find out more about health and safety services.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner with a brain you can pick. Fluent in practical advice. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the Director of life at Veritas Consulting.

You can find him on - Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Health and Safety at Work, Health and Safety Services, Workplace Health and Safety

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