The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has been carrying out a Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress campaign for some time, and they have now launched an online e-guide for Managing Stress and Psychosocial Risks at Work. Stress has become a huge occupational concern and is a growing problem and many employers across Europe and the UK need more guidance on how to manage it both sensitively and effectively.
EU-OSHA have produced their guide to provide solutions for many different nations, 34 country-specific versions will be published, taking into account national laws and legislations, as well as language. The guides also provide users with national resources for stress and psychosocial risks and management, be that medical agencies or the Health and Safety Executive.
Each version of the guide includes:
- An explanation of the risks of stress, the key causes and consequences for both individual employees and businesses as a whole
- Advice and guidance on how to spot problems and deal with them early
- Practical examples of how to prevent and manage the risk of stress and psychosocial problems, with a focus on small business
- Links and information for national resources
Understanding the genuine risk that stress can provide is important for employers so they can have a better understanding of their workforce I general. There are many myths and misconceptions that surround stress and other mental health issues, with many people believing you should simply be able to ‘get over’ the issue, rather than receiving the right support and treatment. This guide is free of charge and can be downloaded to offline use too.
UK Stress Statistics
The latest estimated figures from the Labour Force Survey show stress and anxiety at work are not decreasing. The total number of work-related stress, depression or anxiety for 2013/14 was 487,000, making up 39% of the whole work-related illness figure. 244,000 new cases of these conditions were recorded in the same period and a shocking 11.3 million work days were lost due to the same problems, which equates to around 23 days per case of each condition.
The real damage to the business is high and that’s not to mention the human cost. Many instances of work-related stress are due to the systems in place and the way businesses are run and in some of these instances employees are more than within their rights and in the position to claim for compensation. Loss of earnings and medical treatment needed for a mental health condition is just as valid as a physical injury and therefore, employers should heed the advice in the EU-OSHA guide to avoid this potential outcome.