Stress at work is an issue that must be managed to ensure the health, welfare and effective performance of employees. The Organisation has legal responsibilities in respect of its employee’s physical and mental health, which are detailed within the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations [MHSW] 1999 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Usually, stress occurs when an individual feels unable to cope with excessive pressures at work and/or at home. It is not a sign of weakness and it can be experienced by anyone as a result of a variety of causes.
Pressure can be positive and enable improved performance at work but excessive pressure can lead to stress and can have a detrimental effect on both physical and mental health.
Stress at work is not just a problem for the individual; it is an equally important issue for the Company. If excessive stress is unmanaged, employees may be unable to perform effectively and this can lead to an individual having frequent short or long-term sickness absences.
The HSE defines stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demands put on them”. It then goes on to say stress is not a disease. But if stress is intense and goes on for some time, it can lead to mental and physical ill health [e.g. depression, nervous breakdown, heart disease].
The HSE has several free guides that can be downloaded to help you to understand and manage stress in your company.
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