Many individuals might claim to have a stressful job and every job can be stressful at times, but when the demands continue over a long period of time, it can result in work-related stress.
Stress is not simply about being unable to cope with the demands of your job; it can have a significant impact on your health in general. Stress by itself does not constitute a medical condition, but it is well known to have adverse affects on the immune system, the cardiovascular system and your mental health.
Stress at work may occasionally be unavoidable, but all employers should perform workplace assessments and talk to their employees to reduce the risk of work-related stress. The Health and Safety Executive, which enforces health and safety in the workplace has developed a guide for employers to help them reduce stress in the workplace. An employer who refuses or fails to carry out workplace assessments may be liable for compensation.
Work-related stress is a big issue for employers. In 2010/11 there were 211,000 cases of work-related stress, anxiety or depression. 400,000 individuals reported that they suffered work-related stress which they believed was making them ill. Every case of illness related to work-related stress results in an average of 27 lost work days per year and in 2010/11 that amounted to 10.8 million working days being lost.
Typical reasons for work-related stress are lack of support for employees, too much work or too little work, inadequate training, poor working environment, poor working relationships, and personal factors.
Managers have a responsibility to protect the health of their employees. A manager should create a positive work environment and react appropriately to signs of stress in members of staff. Employees should feel that they can approach their manager with problems or issues and that the manager will respond sympathetically.
Employees also have a responsibility to inform their manager of any personal problems they may have or any work problems. Employees should remember that managers are only expected to take an employee’s statements at face value.
If work-related stress becomes a personal injury claim then the manager or employer will only be deemed to be responsible if they should have been aware of the situation. Work-related stress claims can be problematic because employers will often defend them vigorously as they imply a criticism of the way the company operates, and in their view may set a damaging precedent if won by the claimant. Individuals may also find it difficult to complain of stress for fear of damaging their future prospects.
Accident Advice Helpline can help you if you want to make a claim for work-related stress. We can assess your claim and whether it is likely to succeed or not. Our experienced staff can talk you through the process and help you prepare your case. They can be contacted on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone.