Can obeying the law reduce the cost of stress at the workplace?

Barrett, Brenda (2005) Can obeying the law reduce the cost of stress at the workplace? In: Business Performance and Corporate Social Responsibility, 22 June 2005, National Liberal Club, Barnet.. . [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Stress at the workplace is of great concern to the British Health and Safety enforcement agency. Its (HSE) web site states: ‘up to 5 million people in the UK feel “very” or “extremely” stressed by their work; and work-related stress costs society about £3.7 billion every year (at 1995/6 prices)’.

Research by HSE has led to ‘Management Standards’, published as guidance to employers on assessment of whether their employees are at risk of suffering stress at work. For the past decade employers have been required to undertake risk assessments but the focus has hitherto been on identifying the risk of physical injury being caused by activities at the workplace. The new standards indicate a shift towards imposing responsibility for psychiatric injury, with the implication that employers may be prosecuted for failure to carry out and respond to appropriate assessments.

Over the past decade there has also been a growth in civil litigation by employees seeking compensation for illness which they allege is attributable to stress suffered at work. Appeal courts have provided guidance as to when employers will be liable.

This paper questions whether the HSE and the civil courts are setting the same criteria for employers. It will note the difficulty of identifying when stress experienced by an individual while at work is attributable to work; the desirability of reducing the incidence of stress in the workforce, howsoever caused, and query whether it is cost effective to operate a stress-free workplace

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
Item ID: 3228
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 11:49
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 02:22

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