In today’s modern, competitive world most people are under some kind of pressure in the workplace. Stress not only reduces productivity it can make employees ill in a variety of ways. Work related stress is known to contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, cancer, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), muscle and joint pain.
It’s the duty of the employer to make sure that their employees are not made ill by their work. The affects of stress in the workplace may show up as high staff turnover, reduced work performance, a rise in customer complaints, poor timekeeping, and a possible increase in sickness absence. A weakened workforce means additional workloads for the remaining employees. Employers should look for pressures in the workplace that could cause long-lasting levels of stress and decide whether or not they are doing enough to protect their employees from stress related ill health.
There are three legal obligations that employers should consider:
The Legal case:
Employers should follow relevant health and safety employment law as they have a common law duty of care for employees.
The Moral and Ethical case:
Employers should not cause psychological and/or physical injury to employees. It’s the employer’s responsibility for personal injury and negligence claims. Dealing with stress related claims is both costly and time consuming. Bad publicity can also damage your business reputation.
Taking care of the Business:
A pleasant working environment will enhance your employee’s morale and performance; as well your business productivity. The benefits to be gained from a correct and proper approach towards to your employees will improve any business for the better. As an employer you will also be helping to reduce the impact and cost to society from employee long term stress related work absences. So there are clear economic and financial reasons for employers to reduce stress at work.
"Work-related stress is now the biggest cause of working days lost through occupational injury and ill health".
Source-HSE guide ‘Tackling work-related stress’
"Any employer who does not take stress in the work-place seriously, may be leaving themselves open to compensation claims from employees who have suffered ill health from work-related stress".
Source, HSE, A short guide