Socialist Worker

Workers face ‘growing epidemic’ of stress at work, says TUC

Issue No. 2629

Workplace stress is on the rise

Workplace stress is on the rise


Workers face a “growing epidemic” of work-related stress, the TUC union federation has said. A new Health and Safety Executive (HES) report found that nearly 31 million working days were lost to work-related illness and workplace injury in 2017-18.

The TUC said that 15.4 million of these were due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression. It’s an increase of nearly three million on the previous year.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said that “warm words” wouldn’t solve the problem.

She pointed to “excessive workloads and bullying” in “toxic” workplaces as part of the problem.

Around 550,000 workers suffered non-fatal injuries at work in the last year, according to the HSE. There were 144 fatal injuries at work and nearly 500 prosecutions resulting in a conviction.

Workers in construction and agriculture are the most likely to suffer injury at work.

Carole Easton from Young Women’s Trust said, “Many young people, especially women, are facing huge pressures in the workplace and mental health concerns are skyrocketing.

Struggling

“Low pay, insecure work and workplace inequalities are leaving young women struggling to make ends meet and impacting on their mental health.

“When we have surveyed young people, half of young women said their work has had a negative impact on their mental health.”

The figures come as this week’s Tory budget refused to properly fund mental health services. Chancellor Philip Hammond promised a new mental health crisis service by 2023/24. But it’s for people who have reached crisis point – and people shouldn’t have to wait that long to get support.

TUC research published earlier this month showed how Tory cuts have slashed support for vulnerable people. The number of beds for mental health patients in England has dropped by nearly 3,000, or 13 percent, since 2013.

In 2013 there was one mental health doctor for every 186 patients accessing services. By this year the figure had dropped to one for every 253 patients.

There was one mental health nurse for every 29 patients accessing services in 2013. Now the figure is one for every 39.

“Years of real-terms spending cuts have left services unable to cope with growing demand,” said the TUC.


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