4 November 2009 - Stress Awareness Day
This year's International Stress Management Association campaign is focused on 'stressing the positives'. It is a good prompt for all employers worldwide to think about what they can do to prevent work related stress that includes bullying at work, all of which can make people ill.
So what is workplace bullying?
Bullying at work can take many forms. It can involve:
- ignoring or excluding someone
- spreading malicious rumours or gossip
- humiliating someone in public
- giving someone unachievable or meaningless tasks
- constantly undervaluing someone's work performance
There is no legal definition of workplace bullying. 'Bullies' are often - but not always - more senior than the person they are bullying. 'Bullies' sometimes target groups as well as individuals.
What is the definition of stress?
The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) formal definition of work related stress is:
"The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work."
Stress is not an illness - it is a state. However, if stress becomes too excessive and prolonged, mental and physical illness may develop.
Work is generally good for people if it is well designed, but it can also be a great source of pressure. There is a difference between pressure and stress. Pressure can be positive and a motivating factor, and is often essential in a job. It can help us achieve our goals and perform better. Stress occurs when this pressure becomes excessive. Stress is a natural reaction to too much pressure.
One of the positive things employers can do is use The Management Standards to help them reduce work-related stress.
Also the Labour Force Statistics for 2008/09 that are now available on HSE website: www.hse.gov.uk/stress/research.htm
The HSE web site has changed its look. The new look aims to make navigation easier and helps link related information through 'Resources' and 'See Also' sections on the right of each page: www.hse.gov.uk/stress
Tackling Stress: New leaflet
A new free leaflet has been produced by HSE and partners. The leaflet replaces INDG406 - 'Tackling Stress: The Management Standards Approach' and Misc714 - 'Making the Management Standards Work' see www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg430.pdf
Preventing Work related Stress in Care Assistants and Home Carers
Care Assistants and Home Carers are a group that have been identified through statistical analysis as reporting higher than average prevalence of work-related stress. This project seeks to identify and publicise good practice from employers in preventing care assistants and others who work in the care sector being made ill by work-related stress. Good practice will involve the employer working together with employees and their representatives to look at the risk and introduce sensible solutions.
If you know of any organisations who would be interested in sharing what they do to prevent work related stress in the social care sector please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work Campaign
Healthy Workplaces is the largest information campaign on occupational safety and health, running in all EU Member States and beyond to promote efficient risk management. Under the slogan, "Healthy Workplaces Campaign. Good for you. Good for business", more than 40 European multinationals, employers' federations, NGOs and employees' organisations help EU-OSHA to spread the message among workplaces and improve European workers' conditions, visit https://osha.europa.eu/en/healthy-workplaces-campaigns/previous-healthy-workplaces-campaigns
Work-related stress is one of the biggest health and safety challenges that is faced in Europe. Nearly one in four workers is affected by it, and studies suggest that between 50% and 60% of all lost working days are related to it. This represents a huge cost in terms of both human distress and impaired economic performance.
For more information see https://osha.europa.eu/en/themes/psychosocial-risks-and-stress
For the first time, the European Agency for Safety and Healthy at Work (EU-OSHA) has supported the Healthy Workplaces Film Award for the best documentary on work-related topics at the 52nd International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film. The 2009 winner is a film entitled A Blooming Business directed by Dutch director Ton Van Zantvoort, which shows the painful working conditions in a globalised flower industry. See http://osha.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/dok_leipzig_winner
OSHWORLD links to many organisations with authoritative and validated information on stress. Go to the subject links provided.
If you need information on all aspects of safety and health at work, including stress at work and bullying, and in which ever country have a look at OSH UPDATE which is a wonderful collection of information sources collected together in one place - www.oshupdate.com!
More information on all aspects of health and safety at work - not only from Europe but from around the World, can be found by checking out the OSH UPDATE electronic collection of 19 information databases.
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