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STRESS - PRACTICE v PREACHING

effects of stress

How good is your organisation in preventing and dealing with stress? Many organisations in both the publicand private sectors will have policies and systems. But some of them have a very real need to think about whether what they do has a close relationship with their statements of intent.

For example, some organisations have accreditations for investing in people (and the like), with policies, statements about caring for staff, stress training days, sytems for prevention and other grand plans. The reality though, is that some of these organisations are often not as good in putting their declarations into practice as their plans might suggest. This may be due to several reasons; perhaps due to their size, maybe due to lack of experience and awareness or perhaps key people who can make them effective do not want to 'rock the boat'. Where problems exist, they are probably systemic throughout such organisations because good systems can only work in both directions; from 'roots' to the very 'top of the tree'. It is likely that Management are not aware of the realities in many cases. 

Examples of what can trigger stress can include; no-option changes of location with no apparent or real lack of concern and support by Management,  bad planning of working systems, changes to the working environment, serious illnesses, mental illnesses, unrealistic working hours .... but the list in reality can include just about anything. 

Here is a short article I have copied from RoSPA web site. I am sure they won't mind us supporting their cause.

Stress in the Workplace

More than one in four workers are affected by work-related stress in the European Union. 1

People's mental and physical health can be adversely affected by aspects of their working environment, which produce feelings of anxiety and sometimes acute distress. Factors such as long hours, workload, uncertain expectations and very significantly, lack of control over work tasks, can lead to intense feelings of being unable to cope with such pressures and if prolonged this can lead to short as well as longer term damage to physical as well as mental health.

But like many other kinds of contemporary health and safety issue (e.g. noise, manual handling injury and even noise induced hearing loss) the causes of stress in individuals are not wholly occupational in origin but are affected also by what is happening to them outside work (marriage problems, bereavement, money worries and so on). Also, like many other occupational health issues (e.g. respiratory sensitisation) there is a wide range of individual susceptibility to stress and its short, medium and long-term effects.

The government reports that nearly one in three of Europe's workers, more than 40million people, report that they are affected by stress at work.

So what can be done?

  • Firstly and most important, please remember we are all human beings. Let us create positive attitudes, involve people in change and factors which directly to how they work or think about work. That would be a good start from which the rest might follow.
     
  • Next; How efficient and effective are your arrangements? Like any health, safety and welfare system, the law demands that you check it for effectiveness and improve it where gaps are found. Duties of care not followed can result in significant compensation awards. Moral good sense is to think about and take care of fellow human beings. A happy and healthy workforce has been proved time and time again to provide BOTH better quality and improved production.

 

TSO can assist with policies, audits, management of health and safety at work, training and lots more.