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What is Stress?

Published by Safety Net Team

August 2, 2022

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them” and lists it as a “psychosocial hazard”.

Research shows that there is a clear link between poor work organisation, overwork and subsequent ill health.

The HSE’s key messages on stress are that:

  • work-related stress is a serious health and safety problem for organisations and tackling it effectively can result in significant benefits
  • there are things organisations can do to prevent and control work-related stress
  • the law requires organisations to take action where it is reasonably practicable.

Stress is not a disease but if it is excessive and goes on for a prolonged period it can lead to mental and physical ill health. The latest health and safety statistics reflect the significant economic impact of work-related stress. In 2020/21:

  • 822,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety
  • 50% of all work-related ill health cases were due to stress, depression or anxiety.

The prevalence of work-related stress has been increasing in recent years, but there is no evidence that these increases are related to the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information go to get free advice and request a call back.

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