Headlines: May 22nd, 2000

A survey of staff at the Crown Prosecution Service reveal an organisation suffering unprecedented levels of stress at all grades.The survey was conducted by Organisation Stress Audit Ltd (OSA) on behalf of the CPS and supported by the First Division Association.

The OSA, which has worked with some severely stressed organisations, found CPS had one of its highest ever scorings.

Around a quarter of staff are described as “highly stressed”. One consultant working on the case described the CPS as “.top level too busy, lower levels bored and financially challenged, middle management confused.”

The FDA blames too few staff with inadequate resources, and says the problem is likely to get worse next year with further cuts in resources.

It says the stress levels are institutionalised and create a possible case for involvement of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The HSE itself has just published new research indicating that occupational stress is a bigger problem than has previously been appreciated.

It estimates that around five million workers suffer from high levels of stress at work, making it the second biggest occupational health problem after back pain.

It says that how employers design jobs affects the physical and mental health of employees.

Its new thinking results from two studies: The Scale of Occupational Stress: the Bristol Stress and Health at Work Study, and Work related factors and ill health: the Whitehall II Study. This second study focussed particularly on the work of civil servants.

Copies of both studies can be ordered on-line at www.hsebooks.co.uk.