18/05/2006

Over a fifth of British workers concerned about stress

More than a fifth of British workers are concerned about work-related stress, according to a report by the Health and Safety Executive.

Around 40% of those questioned believed that stress in the workplace could be realistically reduced, but less than a third said that their employers had taken preventative action to reduce stress levels in the workplace.

The results came from the Workplace Health and Safety Survey (WHASS), which questioned just over 10,000 workers between August and December last year.

According to figures derived from the Labour Force Survey in 2004/05, around 13 million working days were lost due to work-related stress in this year.

HSE Chief Executive Geoffrey Podger said: "Stress is a major problem in British workplaces and this survey underlines that. Stress can occur in any workplace and it is important that both employers and employees recognise the symptoms at an early stage.

"We have produced guidance for employers and the stress management standards can help employers tackle the issue."

The survey, which examined employee perceptions of workplace risk, also covered a number of different risk categories, including lifting or carrying heavy loads, skin conditioning resulting from exposure to chemicals and respiratory problems from exposure to dust or fumes.

The survey found that over half those surveyed said that they had no, or slight, health and safety concerns.

When employees were asked which risks they thought could be realistically reduced, slips and trips topped the list. Such accidents are estimated to cost employers around £512 million every year.

Other significant findings in the report surrounded health and safety training that employees received. Around 73% of employees received training in manual handling, but only half of the employees surveyed received training about working around moving vehicles.

This was significant, the HSE said, because 35 workers were killed last year after being struck by a moving vehicle.

(KMcA)

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