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11 November 2002

Stress is still the main hazard at work
Stress continues to be the main occupational hazard affecting all types of workers, according to the latest figures from the TUC. And evidence from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) shows that nearly a fifth of the workforce suffer from high levels of stress.

The Labour Research Department (LRD) has just published a timely guide to what union reps can do to prevent and deal with stress in the workplace. Tackling stress at work ? a trade unionist's guide looks at extensive research into workplace stress, its causes, effects and consequences. Using the latest guidance from unions, the TUC and the HSE, this booklet provides advice on ways of tackling stress in the workplace, including carrying out surveys, doing a risk assessment and drawing up an effective policy.

In recent years unions have been at the forefront of action to tackle stress, and this year used the European Week of Safety and Health at Work to renew their campaigning on this important issue. During the week unions published guidance and urged their members to carry out workplace surveys. The TUC also produced its new Stress MOT, and Tackling stress at work describes how to use it to begin to address the issue of stress in the workplace.

The legal position in relation to stress was affected by a ruling from the Court of Appeal earlier this year, which stripped three stress victims of their compensation awards. The implications of this ruling, which may not be entirely negative, according to some union health and safety experts, are explained fully in the booklet. Employers have a duty under statutory and common law to protect their workers. Tackling stress at work describes all the legislation that might have an impact on tackling stress in the workplace.

Notes to editors

1. Tackling stress at work ? a trade unionist's guide is published by the Labour Research Department, 78 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HF, price ?3.70 or ?10 for employers or commercial organisations. LRD booklets are also available on subscription at an annual cost of ?28.50 (?72.75 for employers/ commercial organisations). LRD publishes 10-11 booklets each year.

2. The Labour Research Department is an independent trade union and labour movement organisation founded 90 years ago. Around 1,800 trade union organisations, including 55 including 55 national unions, representing 99% of total TUC membership, are affiliated.

3. For press enquiries on this booklet contact Paul Hampton on 020 7902 9826. To order copies of the booklet telephone 020 7928 3649.

4. Full information about all of LRD's services and publications is available on the LRD website at www.lrd.org.uk.

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