Work-related stress is one of the biggest health and safety challenges individuals and companies face in Europe according to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. (Section 1.01).
Nearly one in four workers is affected by stress and studies suggest between 50% and 60% of all lost working days are stress related, representing a huge cost in terms of both human distress and impaired economic performance.
Stress at work can affect anyone at any level. It can happen in any sector and in any size of organization. Stress affects the health and safety of individuals, but also the health of organizations and national economies.
Stress is the second most reported work-related health problem, affecting 22% of workers from EU 27 (in 2005). And the number of people suffering from stress-related conditions caused or made worse by work is likely to increase.
The changing world of work is making increased demands on workers, through downsizing and outsourcing, the greater need for flexibility in terms of function and skills, increasing use of temporary contracts, increased job insecurity and work intensification (with higher workload and more pressure), and poor work-life balance.
Stress compromises workplace safety, and contributes to other work-related health problems, such as musculoskeletal disorders. And stress significantly affects an organization’s bottom line. In addition, workplace stress carries over into stress at home, which, in turn, carries over into the workplace, setting up a vicious cycle.
Reducing work-related stress and psychosocial risks is not only a moral, but also legal imperative. There’s a strong business case as well. In 2002, the annual economic cost of work-related stress in the EU-15 was estimated at 20 billion Euros. (That’s almost 29 billion in U.S. dollars.) (workersxzcompxzkit)
The good news is that work-related stress can be dealt with in the same logical and systematic way as other health and safety issues. There is a wealth of practical examples of dealing with it across the EU. With the right approach, workers can be kept safe from stress.
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers’ Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, manufacturing, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He can be contacted at: Robert_Elliott@ ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers' comp issues.
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