Issue date
19 Oct 2015

date: 16 October 2015
embargo: 00.01hrs Monday 19 October 2015

Every two minutes, a worker somewhere in the UK is made ill through stress at work, reveals the TUC today (Monday).

Workplace stress is a huge problem across the UK. It leads to 11.3 million lost work days and accounts for 39 per cent of all work-related illness.

The mental symptoms of stress range from sleeplessness and listlessness through to clinical depression and suicide. The physical effects range from appetite loss and nausea through to heart damage and stroke.

To coincide with European Health and Safety Week – which starts today, runs until Sunday (25 October) and is focusing on workplace stress this year – the TUC has published new advice on managing stress at work.

The guidance highlights three key points:

• Stress is not a weakness or your fault: it can affect anyone at anytime.
• Don’t suffer in silence: but instead talk to someone like your union rep, a friend, your GP or a support service.
• Stress-related illnesses caused by work are preventable. Employers have a legal responsibility to reduce or remove anything at work that could make you ill and that includes workplace stress.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “People don’t get ill from stress because they are weak, but because employers aren’t doing enough to remove or control the causes of the stress. Pressures of long working hours and low job security are being felt in offices, hospitals, schools and shops across the country.

“Much more needs to be done to stop bosses treating their staff like machines. It’s in no-one’s interests to have stressed-out workforces. People who experience high anxiety are less productive and are more likely to take time off

“Anyone worried about their workload or being unfairly treated at work should join a union, to get the support they need and their interests represented at work.”
The health and safety week is run by the European Agency for Safety and Health and is being coordinated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK.

NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Around 244,000 new cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety were diagnosed in the UK in 2013/2014. This equates to 668 a day, 28 an hour, or one every 2.1 minutes.
- The TUC’s guide to coping with workplace stress can be found at www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Stress%20Guidance%20July%202014%20pdf_0.pdf
- Figures for new cases of work-related stress and work days lost are from the HSE www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress/stress.pdf
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews

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