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TUC survey of safety representatives reveals stress is the greatest workplace hazard

3 November 2014 - 3:33pm

Workplace safety representatives rate stress as the greatest health and safety hazard facing UK employees, according to a recent union survey.

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A TUC survey of health and safety reps reveals 67 per cent believe stress, and its effect on colleagues, is the biggest health risk at work.

Bullying and harassment, back strains and slips, and trips and falls also ranked among the top five hazards.

CSP national health and safety officer Donna Steele said the results were not surprising, but the CSP could help members experiencing difficulties.

'It’s a problem that’s not going away,’ Ms Steele said.

Organisational restructures were the main cause of stress, but other triggers included job demands, bullying, and work environment, she said.

'There’s a lot of change going on in the health services and safety reps have a really good role to play,' Ms Steele said.

'They can conduct a stress survey of members and present evidence to employers that they need to undertake a risk assessment. They can also consult closely with the safety rep on possible solutions.

'A survey allows members to raise their concerns through their rep – rather than having to try and deal with an untenable situation on their own'.

If left untreated, stress could cause staff members to become physically or mentally ill. In extreme cases, it could affect patient care with potentially dire consequences.

'The next thing that keeps us busy is MSK disorders and there’s often a correlation between MSK and stress. For example being bullied by your manager to work beyond your physical capability, then not getting an adequate break to recover. This can then lead to incurring an injury,' Ms Steele said.

The TUC survey also found one in six workplaces failed to conduct risk assessments, breaching health and safety law.

The health service has one of the worst records of carrying out risk assessments. Just 72 per cent of reps said they had been carried out, although 11 per cent did not know.

 

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