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Wednesday, 26 December, 2001, 10:07 GMT
STUC accuses bosses over stress
Office worker
The STUC has warned about the cost of stress
Union chiefs have accused employers of exploiting weaknesses in the law to avoid introducing measures to combat stress in the workplace.

The claim was made by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) as it urged businesses to recognise the damage caused to workers by stress, repetitive strain injury and back strain.

The STUC said more than two million working days a year are lost because of stress, causing an emotional drain on individuals and costing the economy millions of pounds through lost tax revenues, health service and benefits costs.

The union body said one Scottish employee is forced out of work every two hours because of ill-health, meaning there is an additional cost for companies in terms of recruitment and retraining new employees.

RSI graphic
The STUC is concerned by RSI

STUC spokesman Ian Tasker said: "All too often employers use weaknesses in current legislation to justify their failure to introduce measures designed to combat the increasing instances of work-related ill-health.

"We cannot continue to operate in a system which allows employers the opening to ignore implementing improvements in health and safety practices.

"We would like to see removal of all legislation which places an economic measure on workers' health, safety and welfare."

Mr Tasker added that employees are reluctant to seek compensation for ill-health acquired in the workplace because of the costly, "stressful" risk of losing a lawsuit.

However, the Health and Safety Executive denied there were blind spots in the safety at work legislation.

A spokeswoman said: "We are not aware of any loop holes in the law.

"The Health and Safety at Work Act is very clear that there is a responsibility on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees, and this includes mental health."

See also:

15 Jun 01 | Health
Workplace stress guru honoured
19 Apr 01 | Health
Stress 'costs firms 3bn a year'
30 Jan 01 | Health
'Most workers stressed'
26 Jul 00 | Health
Sterile offices 'causing stress'
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