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World Day for Safety and Health at Work tackles the challenge of workplace stress

Posted by Tracy Seward

World Day for Safety and Health at Work tackles the challenge of workplace stress

World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 28 April focussed on the challenge of workplace stress. Positive Response, a consultancy which helps businesses protect staff from verbal abuse and physical threat, urged organisations to remember that aggressive behaviour, violence and crime can be a major contributor to stress and unhappiness at work for front-line staff.

According to the specialist consultancy and training provider for the prevention and management of challenging behaviour, exposure to violence is believed to have a large impact on mental health. Angry or frustrated customers can lash out at service staff, either through verbal abuse or physical violence, and the fear and uncertainty of volatile behaviour is a significant contributor to workplace stress.

Findings from the recent Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) showed that around 58% of victims reported one incident of work-related violence, while 20% experienced two incidents of work-related violence and 21% experienced three or more incidents in 2014/15.

In 54% of the cases of workplace violence strangers were the offenders, and among the 46% of incidents where the offender was known the offenders were most likely to be clients or a member of the public known through work.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), workplace injury and illness, including stress, cost over £14 billion in 2013-14 in the UK.

Positive Response recommends that offering social support to co-workers and facilitating communication between staff can help identify improvements and foster positivity at work, and can be achieved by investing in new technology that will ensure staff are supported.

Dave Whittle, CEO of Positive Response, said: “Service industry workers often feel vulnerable to the emotions and reactions of their customers, especially where adequate security measures have not been taken. Employers have a Duty of Care to their employees. They need to take a strategic view of staff security and wellbeing and put proactive measures in place to support their people.

“Managers must consider giving staff extra support from security teams; training in managing anti-social and aggressive behaviour, and a system that provides staff with the means of raising an alarm quickly and easily – covertly if necessary – when exposed to threatening situations in the place of work.”

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), which marks its World Day for Safety and Health at Work on or around 28 April each year has a published a report Workplace Stress: A collective challenge doc 357298 which highlights the enormity of stress within the workplace today and presents trends on work-related stress in developed and developing countries – see the Reports section of this guidance.

World Day is an international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work around the globe.

For more information on the Stress Awareness for Employees eLearning course, please click here.

For more information the Stress Awareness for Managers eLearning course, please click here.

Praxis42 news is provided in partnership with Barbour EHS


April 2016

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