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Friday, June 5, 1998 Published at 01:00 GMT 02:00 UK


The cost of stress

Stress costs industry billions, says TUC

Stress at work costs employers around 5bn a year, according to the TUC which is launching a major campaign to tackle the problem.

The TUC is publishing guidance on how to reduce stress ahead of a series of regional seminars for health and safety representatives and managers.

The guidance, Tackling stress at work, says more than half a million workers suffer stress every year and nearly six million working days are lost because of it.

Long hours

[ image: Nurses are under pressure in the NHS]
Nurses are under pressure in the NHS
It identifies the major causes of stress as long hours, shift work, job insecurity and bullying. It urges that the problem be dealt with collectively, although it recognises that it affects everyone differently.

A TUC survey shows that 68% of 8,000 health and safety representatives said stress was a major concern.

TUC General Secretary John Monks said: "Stress is part of all our lives, but, if not managed properly, affects the mental and physical health of people at work and also carries a heavy cost to those businesses not geared up to preventing or reducing it. Unions have a key role to play in ensuring that employers take these duties seriously."

Code of practice

The TUC wants the Health and Safety Executive to provide a code of practice on how to reduce stress in the workplace.

A 1994 survey by Harris Research found that more than half the British office workers said their job was the leading cause of stress in their lives and that British businesses had the lowest feel-good factor in Europe.

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