Headlines: November 29th, 1999

The Crown Prosecution Service is to survey its staff in the first stage of a stress audit. Discussions with trade unions started over a year ago and the timing of the survey coincides with a major reorganisation. Survey results will be available by April 2000.OSA Ltd of Amersham, whose previous clients include Highways Agency and BP, has been awarded the survey contract after a tendering exercise. They will devise the survey form which will include questions about causes of stress at home as well as at work. The company will assist the CPS in taking the audit forward. This will include a comparison of the survey findings with the company’s stress database which will show where the CPS differs from the norm. They will also make recommendations about countering stress risks.

Although Health and Safety Executive advice to employers about health in the workplace is more than 20 years old, attention until recently has been more on physical problems such as sight, hearing and repetitive strain. Stress is now recognised as a major threat to people and to productivity. Research published last month showed that an average of one in five people at work in the UK are very, or extremely stressed. The research also found clear links between stress and physical ailments.