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TUC: Stopping workplace violence key to combating stress

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has reminded employers that they have a responsibility to protect their staff by ensuring that the workplace is free of violence, bullying and harassment.

In a recent report, the trade union body noted that eradicating these problems is crucial if businesses want to help their employees avoid stress.

 

One of the most effective ways of creating a safe and reassuring working environment is to enlist the services of a professional security provider, which could help you gain a better understanding of any potential safety issues in your workplace. Investing in professional security will also show your employees that they are protected against the threat of violence - whether that comes from inside or outside the organisation.

People who feel safe and comfortable in their place of work are much less likely to suffer from stress and will be happier and more productive as a result.

According to the TUC, stress is the leading health and safety concern in UK workplaces. In a survey of more than 1,000 health and safety representatives by the trade union group, seven out of ten respondents (70 per cent) cited stress as a problem, up from 67 per cent in 2014, when the study was last conducted.

Detailed findings suggested that medium-sized firms - those with between 50 and 99 workers - have seen a particularly significant increase in stress over the past two years. Three-quarters (75 per cent) of reps with these employers listed it as one of their top five concerns, up from 62 per cent in 2014.

The study also looked at regional trends, finding that stress is the most widespread health and safety issue across all 11 areas of the UK. The biggest increase in concern was recorded in Northern Ireland, while the south-east, East Anglia and Wales all registered five per cent rises in stress being cited as the main workplace health and safety worry.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: "The message from the shop floor is clear: stress is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. Pressures of long working hours and low job security are being felt in workplaces across the UK.

"It's in no-one's interests to have overstretched workforces. People who experience high anxiety are less productive and are more likely to take time off. Stress is preventable if staff have reasonable workloads, supportive managers and a workplace free from violence, bullying and harassment."

The organisation offered some guidance for organisations seeking to manage stress at work and promote positive mental health. It emphasised that all employers have a legal responsibility to reduce or remove anything in the workplace that could make people ill, including causes of stress.

Earlier this year, the TUC released a report highlighting the ongoing threat of sexual harassment in the workplace, with more than half (52 per cent) of all women and nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of those aged 18 to 24 saying they had been harassed at work.

 

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of iStock/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

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