Headlines: August 8th, 2002

Two thirds of human resource professionals in local government believe they do not have the know-how to help their authorities reduce stress in the workplace. One in five feel that their authorities do not have the structures and procedures in place to deal adequately with stress. More than one third of respondents expect the number of stress related claims to rise. These findings come from a survey by Zurich Municipal following an appeal court hearing that upheld rulings on the liability of councils.Health and Safety Executive research supports the call to action asserting that stress is the second biggest cause of work-related illness in the UK with one in five workers reporting they have been affected by it. Stress in the workplace accounts for a large number of employee absences in the public sector.

The survey confirms that public sector organisations need to develop an understanding of stress and the potential scale of the problem, as well as a knowledge of current health and safety legislation illustrated by recent case law. They also need the ability to recognise work related stress and implement preventative measures. Action that can be taken includes introducing helplines providing professional counselling, carrying out risk assessments to determine possible causes of stress and having clear policies on mental health and stress. .

Link: Work Related Stress email: info@zurichmunicipal.com