The Health and Safety Authority has launched a new information campaign aimed at raising awareness of the damaging effects of work-related stress. The campaign includes a radio advertisement, outdoor formats and a digital/social media element running over two weeks and follows a 2016 study by the ESRI which noted that stress, anxiety and depression are the second highest causes of work related illness in Ireland and are associated with the longest absence from work.
A European-wide survey on working conditions conducted by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work found that 22 per cent of workers in Ireland experienced stress at work ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’. The proportion that ‘always’ experienced stress was the third highest in the EU15 and tenth highest among the 34 countries surveyed.
According to Patricia Murray, Organisational Psychologist with the Health and Safety Authority: “Employees behave differently to their ‘normal’ behaviour when under high levels of stress. They can be angrier, more confrontational, show less time for others and impose an urgency on situations which is unrealistic and tense for those around them. Or they can withdraw and become evasive or prone to upset and over time easily overcome by even minor challenges. This type of behavior is clearly unproductive for the individual and difficult for their colleagues to deal with, but it’s also bad for business.
“Employers need to be alert for the signs of work-related stress in their organisations. All employers have a duty of care to provide a safe and healthy workplace and this duty extends to mental as well as physical safety and health. The benefits of doing so not only extend to employees themselves but also to the business in the form of reduced absenteeism and increased employee engagement, performance and productivity.”