Every two minutes, a worker is made ill through stress at work in the UK, the TUC revealed yesterday.
Workplace stress leads to over 12 million lost work days and is responsible for over 40% percent of all work-related illnesses, according to statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive.
To mark the beginning of European Health and Safety Week 2015, the TUC published new advice on how to manage stress at work yesterday, Monday 19 October.
The TUC explained that there are many symptoms of stress, with mental symptoms ranging from sleeplessness and listlessness to clinical depression and suicide. Physical symptoms can include loss of appetite, nausea, heart damage and stroke.
The guidance by the TUC focused on three key points: that stress is not a weakness and can affect anyone; that workers should not suffer in silence, but talk to someone about it; and that stress-related illness causes by work is preventable.
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.”
Around 244,000 new cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety were diagnosed in the UK in 2013/14. This equates to 668 a day, 28 an hour, or one every 2.1 minutes.