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TUC fortnightly Changing Times

Finland: Making jobs better keeps you well
Cutting the mental and social strain caused by work can make workers healthier in the short and long term, new research has found. A Finnish study discovered the risk of an employee claiming a work disability pension due to musculoskeletal diseases can be decreased by up to 35 per cent by reducing the workplace strains.
FIOH news release and key papers and conference programmeRisks 620
Hazards news, 31 August 2013

Global: Job worries raise heart disease risks
There is a “modest association” between self-reported job insecurity and coronary heart disease (CHD), a major study has found. In a response welcoming the British Medical Journal paper, Paul Nicholson, chair of the British Medical Association’s Occupational Medicine Committee, noted job insecurity is also linked to increased sickness and raised cholesterol levels and blood pressure, adding the new study was important “because we are living in ‘VUCA times’, that is to say the world is: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.”
Marianna Virtanen and others. Perceived job insecurity as a risk factor for incident coronary heart disease: systematic review and meta-analysis, British Medical Journal, volume 347, f4746, 2013, published online 8 August. Response to the article from BMA OMC chair Paul NicholsonTUC news releaseThe MirrorMore on job insecurity
Risks 618
Hazards news, 17 August 2013

Britain: Action as stress and bugs blight hospitals
Over-stretched staff labouring in bug infested Leeds hospitals are wilting under the stress, GMB has said. GMB’s Bill Chard said: “Continual re-organisation, higher than UK average levels of stress, mixed with ongoing financial pressures all add up to a lethal mix.”
GMB news releaseYorkshire Evening PostRisks 617
Hazards news, 10 August 2013

Australia: Safety agency guilty of ‘institutional bullying’
An official workplace safety agency in Australia hounded a worker out of his job in a display of “scurrilous” and “malicious” behaviour, a court has found. The New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission found that “shabby and disgraceful” WorkCover had produced a six-volume report as part of its proceedings to dismiss Wayne Butler, but this was “fundamentally flawed” and “arrived at conclusions that were not supported by facts.”
Newcastle HeraldSydney Morning HeraldRisks 612
Hazards news, 6 July 2013

Britain: Stress Network conference, 23-24 November, Birmingham
The national Stress Network’s annual conference is to take place from 23-24 November. This year’s event has the theme: ‘Are health and safety cuts the right medicine?’
Stress Network conference, Saturday, 23-24 November, Hillscourt Conference Centre, Rednal, Birmingham B45 8RS. Stress Network website and conference booking formRisks 612
Hazards news, 6 July 2013

Britain: Strike action plan over teacher workloads
Scotland's largest teaching union has backed a campaign of action, including strikes, over increased workloads created by the new curriculum. Delegates at the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) conference in Perth carried a motion calling for a campaign of action to be in place by December in protest against increased workloads.
EIS workload campaignDaily RecordBBC News OnlineRisks 609
Hazards news, 15 June 2013

Britain: Pressure and job insecurity hits a 20-year high
British workers are feeling less secure and more pressured at work than at any time in the past 20 years, with pay cuts and diminished control over their jobs among the biggest concerns, according to a national survey of employees' wellbeing. More than 3,000 workers aged between 20 and 60 were interviewed in 2012 for the latest in a six-yearly Skills and Employment survey.
Cardiff School of Social Sciences news release and the 2012 Skills and Employment Survey (SES) and three reports: Fear at work in Britain, Work intensification in Britain and Job-related well-being in Britain, May 2013 •  Financial Times • The Guardian • More on insecure work and health •  Risks 606
Hazards news,  25 May 2013

Britain: Train drivers concerned over makeshift shrines
The appearance of makeshift shrines at the site of rail tragedies is distressing for train drivers and not an appropriate way to pay tribute to the dead, the rail union ASLEF has said. ASLEF’s officer in Scotland Kevin Lindsay said: “No-one wishes to come to work and be reminded that someone has died there.”
ASLEF news release • The Scotsman •  Risks 606
Hazards news, 25 May 2013

Britain: Mental health charity bullies its own staff
A mental health charity has been told to stop bullying its staff and to start practising what it preaches. Turning Point has recently threatened all its 2,600 staff with the sack unless they agree to new and worse contracts – causing huge amounts of stress and anxiety.
UNISON news releaseRisks 605
Hazards news, 18 May 2013

Britain: NUJ welcomes BBC bullying action plan
Journalists’ union NUJ has welcomed recommendations to address the entrenched bullying culture at the BBC. The measures are outlined in the report of the ‘Respect at work’ review conducted by Dinah Rose QC into bullying and harassment at the broadcaster.
NUJ news release and Stop bullying guideVideo clip of Michelle Stanistreet's BBC interviewBBC Respect at work review and trade union sectionThe GuardianRisks 604
Hazards news, 11 May 2013

Britain: Work stress led to school head’s suicide
A stressed headteacher found hanged at her school in Worcestershire killed herself, a coroner has ruled. Helen Mann,  whose body was discovered in a stairwell at Sytchampton First School near Stourport-on-Severn on 5 November 2012, was concerned that if an Ofsted inspection was imminent, the school would lose its 'oustanding' rating.
Kidderminster ShuttleBBC News OnlineMalvern GazetteMore on work-related suicidesRisks 603
Hazards news, 4 May 2013

Britain: Retailers shopped by exhausted staff
Understaffing and long opening hours are leaving shopworkers stressed, miserable and unable to take breaks, their union has said. The Morning Star reports that delegates at the annual Usdaw conference have called for action to address low staffing levels. Morning StarRisks 603
Hazards news, 4 May 2013

Britain: Needlestick injuries cause psychiatric trauma
Needlestick or ‘sharps’ injuries are resulting in persistent and substantial psychiatric illness or depression in workers in a wide range of industries, a new study has found. Research published this month in the journal Occupational Medicine found that those affected suffered psychiatric trauma that is similar in severity to trauma caused by other events such as road traffic accidents.
SOM news release. B. Green and EC Griffiths. Psychiatric consequences of needlestick injury, Occupational Medicine volume 63, pages 183–188, 2013 •
Hazards news, 13 April 2013

Britain: Emails used as a ‘punitive’ management tool
Teachers are being swamped by a deluge of work-related emails sent in holidays, evenings and weekends, adding to their workload and causing stress and distress, the union NASUWT has warned. It says a recent survey conducted by the union revealed that nearly one in five teachers had received a stream of bullying and demanding emails from senior colleagues.”
NASUWT news releaseRisks 599
Hazards news, 30 March 2013

Britain: Prison educators are highly stressed
Education staff who work in prisons have considerably higher levels of work-related stress than British workers in general, a new report commissioned by the union UCU has found. ‘A punishing regime - a survey of occupational stress and well-being among prison educators’ found that 72 per cent of the prison educators who responded 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' with the statement, "I find my job stressful".
UCU news release and report, A punishing regime - a survey of occupational stress and well-being among prison educators, Gail Kinman and Siobhan Wray, University of Bedfordshire • POA news releaseRisks 599
Hazards news, 30 March 2013

Britain: Schools inspectors are ‘hit men’ for ministers
School inspectors are becoming education ministers’ hit men, teaching union NASUWT has claimed. Ninety-five per cent of teachers who responded to an NASUWT survey into inspection said that they believe the schools inspections system operates in the interests of politicians rather than the public or pupils.
NASUWT news releaseHazards work-related suicide guideRisks 599
Hazards news, 30 March 2013

Britain: Burnout bigger heart risk than smoking
Burnout at work is worse for your heart than smoking cigarettes, research has found.  The study, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, found that people suffering work-related burnout are even more likely to develop heart disease than smokers.
TUC Touchstone BlogMedical News TodayPsychosomatic MedicineRisks 598
Hazards news, 23 March 2013

Britain: Work is the top cause of stress
Work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives, research commissioned by Mind has found. The mental health charity found one in three people (34 per cent) said their work life was either very or quite stressful, topping both debt or financial problems (30 per cent) and health (17 per cent).
Mind news release and stress webinars • New TUC guide on mental health conditions at work • Risks 598
Hazards news, 23 March 2013

Britain: Academics stressed by out of control workloads
A survey of more than 14,000 higher education staff in the UK has found academics and academic-related staff are increasingly stressed by a loss of control over the way they work. The research, carried out by the union UCU, found that stress caused by a perceived lack of control at work has increased among higher education staff over the four years from 2008 to 2012.
UCU news releaseRisks 597
Hazards news, 16 March 2013

Britain: Almost 9 out of 10 council workers are stressed
A staggering 87 per cent of local government workers are struggling to cope with increased stress and pressure at work, research by UNISON has found. The survey of more than 14,000 workers by UNISON discovered a ‘toxic cocktail’ of declining staff numbers and increasing expectations from the public and employers is piling on the pressure.
UNISON news releaseMorning StarRisks 594
Hazards news, 23 February 2013       

Britain: Everything Everywhere has stress everywhere
Mobile phone firm Everything Everywhere (EE) might be making a healthy profit, but it is also making its workers stressed, research by the union CWU has found. Using Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stress management criteria, the results rate EE as 'urgent action needed' in all seven areas identified as the main risk factors for workplace stress. CWU news release and EE stress surveyRisks 594
Hazards news, 23 February 2013  

Ireland: Tesco staff wear work rate trackers
Staff at a Tesco warehouse in Ireland have been made to wear digital arm-band devices that constantly police their work rate. The Motorola website promoting the technology tells employers the “rugged mobile computing device will allow you to achieve maximum error-proof productivity, operational efficiency and accuracy through voice compatibility for streamlined warehouse and package handling functions.”
Irish IndependentMotorola websiteRisks 593
Hazards news, 16 February 2013

Britain: Report slams the ‘tyranny’ of performance management
The ‘relentless pressure’ of punitive performance management systems intended to push up productivity is instead creating a stressed, sick and insecure workforce, a new study has found. ‘Performance management and the new workplace tyranny’ written by Professor Phil Taylor of the University of Strathclyde, is the culmination of a three year study examining the impact new forms of performance management. 
STUC news release‘Performance Management and the New Workplace Tyranny’ Report, Professor Phil Taylor, January 2013 • Executive SummaryThe HeraldRisks 591
Hazards news, 2 February 2013

Britain: UNISON survey leads to stress action
A UNISON survey of stress problems experienced by council staff in Glasgow has resulted in the employer agreeing to implement a ‘prevention and control’ action plan. The initiative was prompted by concerns raised by UNISON members about the effect spending cuts were having on workloads and workplace pressures.
UNISON news release • UNISON’s Stress at work guide for safety reps and Risk assessment – a guide for UNISON safety reps • Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guide: Managing the causes of work related stress: a step by step approach using the Management StandardsRisks 588
Hazards news, 12 January 2013

Britain: Teaching stress up, morale down
Stress in teachers is soaring as morale in the profession plummets, analyses published in December 2012 have revealed. NUT general secretary Christine Blower said the findings reflected the pressure teachers were under and warned austerity measures were placing additional strain on staff.
The GuardianBBC News OnlineRisks 588
Hazards news, 12 January 2013

Britain: Job loss increases heart attack risk
Job loss can raise your heart attack risk as much as smoking, with those who have lost a succession of jobs at higher risk still. A study of 13,451 people in the US found heart attacks increased by over a quarter (27 per cent) among people who were recently unemployed, regardless of occupation.
Matthew E Dupre, Linda K George and others. The cumulative dffect of unemployment on risks for acute myocardial infarction, Achives of Internal Medicine, Online First, November 2012. doi:10.1001/2013.jamainternmed.447.  BBC News Online
VJC Mc Carthy, IJ Perry and BA Greiner. Age, job characteristics and coronary health, Occupational Medicine, volume 62, number 8, pages 613-619, 2012. Irish IndependentRisks 583
Hazards news, 24 November 2012

Britain: Stress ‘timebomb’ ticking at Johnston Press
Overworked journalists facing a stress ‘timebomb’ at work are demanding urgent talks with Johnston Press after the company announced further massive cuts. Journalists’ union NUJ is warning that increased workload and stress levels are endangering both staff and the publications they produce.
NUJ news releaseRisks 582
Hazards news, 17 November 2012

Britain: Suicide death trauma for train driver
A train driver who suffered psychological injuries when his train killed a suicide victim who had laid his head down on the tracks has received compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS). But his union ASLEF warns cuts to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) being pushed through by the government will mean train drivers will no longer be able to claim for the trauma caused by witnessing a suicide.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 581
Hazards news, 10 November 2012

Britain: Train driver medically retired after suicide ‘horror’
A London train driver suffered such severe psychological injuries when her train killed a suicide victim she was medically retired as result. RMT member Karen Jordan said: “I am appalled that drivers who might go through what I saw and experienced are to be banned by the government from getting any compensation for the horror. ”
RMT news release and related RMT news releaseMorning StarDaily MirrorRisks 581
Hazards news, 10 November 2012

Britain: High stress and long hours blight universities
University staff are suffering ‘damaging’ stress levels arising from intense workloads and a long hours culture, union research has found. A report of a UCU survey of 14,000 higher education academic and academic-related staff ranks marked the start of UCU's campaign against excessive workloads in post-16 education.
UCU news release and workload campaignRisks 577
Hazards news, 13 October 2012

Britain: Teachers angry at official ‘work harder’ jibe
Teachers already facing a pay freeze have expressed anger after England’s chief inspector of schools called on them to ‘work harder’ or face further hardship. The comments from Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw, in a 22 September interview with The Times newspaper, reignited union concerns that the Ofsted chief is fronting government policy and ignoring the serious and damaging stresses of the job.
NASUWT news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 575
Hazards news, 29 September 2012

Britain: Work stress raises heart risk
A combination of high demand at work and low control over decision making increases the risks of deadly heart problems, a major new report has found. UK researchers analysed 13 existing European studies covering nearly 200,000 people and found “job strain” was linked to a 23 per cent increased risk of heart attacks and deaths from coronary heart disease.
Mika Kivimäki and others. Job strain as a risk factor for coronary heart disease: a collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data, The Lancet, published online 14 September 2012. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60994-5. BBC News OnlineThe GuardianRisks 574
Hazards news, 22 September 2012

Britain: Sun stripping stunt exposes bullying culture
Journalists’ union NUJ has expressed dismay after a woman doing work experience for the Sun newspaper was asked to strip off and pose with a member of staff for mocked-up pictures of Prince Harry. Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said although 21-year-old Sophie Henderson said she was not forced to do it “she should not have been asked to in the first place.”
NUJ news release and evidence to the Leveson InquiryThe GuardianHuffington PostThe Bureau of Investigative JournalismRisks 571
Hazards news, 1 September 2012

Britain: Government policy is promoting suicides
The UK recession has led to a sharp rise in suicides, a new study has found. The researchers warn that the government’s austerity programme is not worth the human cost and efforts should instead centre on job creation.
David Stuckler and others. Suicides associated with the 2008-2010 recession in England: time-trend analysis,, published online 14 July 2012 • Risks 569
Hazards news, 18 August 2012

Britain: Jobcentre strike over oppressive targets
Jobcentre staff took strike action this week over oppressive working conditions and unrealistic targets. On 13 August, more than 6,000 PCS members in 32 call centres in England, Scotland and Wales reignited industrial action first taken last year against “draconian conditions” they say prevent them from providing the kind of service callers require and deserve.
PCS news releaseRisks 569
Hazards news, 18 August 2012

Australia: Study confirms insecure work is dangerous
New official Australian research showing casual workers are 50 per cent more likely to be injured at work is solid proof that insecure work leads to unsafe working environments, the country’s top union body has said. ‘Australian work-related injury experience by sex and age, 2009-2010’, published by national safety regulator Safe Work Australia, found that casual workers without leave entitlements reported 54 injuries per million hours worked compared with a rate of 35 for those with leave entitlements.
Safe Work Australia news release • Australian work-related injury experience by sex and age, 2009-2010, Safe Work Australia, 30 July 2012 [pdf]ACTU news releaseABC NewsRisks 567
Hazards news, 4 August 2012

Canada: Temp workers are falling through cracks
Complex employment relationships, gaps in the regulatory system and job insecurity can leave low-wage temp agency workers more vulnerable to workplace injuries, according to new research from the Toronto-based Institute for Work and Health. Researcher Ellen MacEachen and colleagues found “that low-wage temp agency workers are less well protected because of the complex working relationship in which they find themselves.” At Work, Issue 69, IWH, Summer 2012 and related research presentation, The management of OHS and return-to-work issues in temporary work agencies [pdf]Risks 567
Hazards news, 4 August 2012

Britain: Job strain linked to circulatory disease in women
A major US study has linked high strain, active jobs to a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in female health professionals. The study examined the relationship between job strain and job insecurity and rates of CVD among the 22,086 participants in the Women’s Health Study (WHS).
Slopen N, Glynn RJ, Buring JE, Lewis TT, Williams DR and others (2012). Job Strain, Job Insecurity, and Incident Cardiovascular Disease in the Women’s Health Study: Results from a 10-Year Prospective Study • PLoS ONE 7(7): e40512. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040512 • Risks 567
Hazards news, 4 August 2012

Global: ILO spells out why stress at work matters
A decision by a French judge to subject France Telecom and two former top executives to a judicial review regarding their alleged role in a wave of staff suicides highlights the dangers of stress at work, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said. The suicides at France Telecom in 2008 and 2009 coincided with the unfolding global financial crisis and restructuring of the company.
ILO news release and related publications: Stress prevention at work checkpoints, a guide to auditing safety and health controls and SOLVE: Integrating health promotion into workplace OSH policiesFinancial TimesThe GuardianMore on occupational suicidesRisks 564
Hazards news, 14 July 2012

Japan: Work suicides, heart disease and depression up
Official compensation payouts for work-related suicides and depression in Japan are running at a record high, the health ministry has said. Figures for 2011 reveal the number of payouts approved for work-related mental illnesses climbed to an all-time high of 325 in the 2011 tax year.
Japan TimesRisks 561
Hazards news, 23 June 2012

Britain: Fewer promotions mean more heart attacks
Civil servants working in departments with high promotion rates were 20 per cent less likely to suffer heart attacks, a UK study has found. The authors say their findings reinforce a growing body of research that indicates upward mobility and socioeconomic status have important effects on physical health.
Michael Anderson and Michael Marmot. The effects of promotions on heart disease: Evidence from Whitehall, The Economic Journal, volume 122, issue 561, pages 555–589, June 2012 [abstract]The ObserverRisks 559
Hazards news, 9 June 2012

Britain: Teachers dismayed at Ofsted pressure
The head of the schools standards body Ofsted has angered teachers by saying he is not interested in hearing about stress of their jobs. In comments to a May 2012 conference of independent school heads, new chief inspector of schools Sir Michael Wilshaw said he didn’t want excuses for poor performance, among them “this job is far too stressful.” BBC News OnlineThe ObserverRisks 556
Hazards news, 19 May 2012

Europe: Industry opposes strain injury rules
Employers’ lobby groups from across Europe are opposing rules to reduce workplace risks from work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). In a letter to Antonio Tajani, vice-president of the European Commission’s Industry Committee, and László Andor, the Social Affairs Commissioner, nine European employers’ associations say the European legislative initiative is “neither necessary nor desirable”.
ETUI news reportJoint Employers' letter on MSD [pdf] • Risks 552
Hazards news, 21 April 2012

Britain: Work pressure makes school staff sick
School workers are falling ill as a result of the pressure of their jobs, teaching unions have warned. ATL has said in the current academic year four in ten education staff have visited the doctor and a quarter taken sick leave because of job pressure.
NUT news releaseATL news releaseRisks 551
Hazards news, 14 April 2012

Britain: Government makes jobs less secure
Increasing the time before workers are protected from unfair dismissal from one year to two years could leave 2.7 million people at increased risk of losing their jobs, the TUC has warned. Job insecurity has been linked to higher rates of injuries at work and of work-related suicides, sickness and ill-health and has also been shown to drive down productivity.
TUC news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 550
Hazards magazine, • 7 April 2012

Europe: Stress in the workplace to rise
Job-related stress is a concern for the large majority of the workforce, a Europe-wide survey has found. The 2nd European Opinion Poll on Occupational Safety and Health, conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), found eight in ten (80 per cent) of the working population across Europe think the number of people suffering from job-related stress over the next five years will increase, with over half (52 per cent) expecting this to ‘increase a lot’.
EU-OSHA news release, full results of the pan-European poll and EU results, country summaries and methodologyRisks 549
Hazards news, 31 March 2012

Britain: Strain on NHS takes its toll on staff
The government’s handling of the health service is leaving staff facing soaring stress levels, the union UNISON has said. The union was commenting on the publication this week of the official NHS Staff Survey findings for 2011.
UNISON news releaseNHS Staff Survey news release and National NHS Staff Survey Coordination Centre and NHS Information CentreBBC News OnlineRisks 548
Hazards news, 24 March 2012

China: Call for law to stop overwork deaths
A law to prevent a growing number of deaths related to overwork has been proposed at China’s National's People's Congress (NPC). Hu Xiaoyan, China's first migrant worker elected as a representative of the NPC, made the call during the law-making body’s annual session.
China DailyGlobal Times’ April 2011 report on Pan Jie’s deathRisks 547
Hazards news, 17 March 2012

Stress Network Annual Conference, 23-25 November 2012
The National Work Stress Network’s 2012 conference will be held in Rednal, near Birmingham on the weekend of 23-25 November. Marking the bicentenary this year of the birth of Charles Dickens, the event has a theme of ‘Hard Times, Great Expectations and Victorian values – combatting workplace stress in hostile times.”
National Work Stress Network conference, 23-25 November 2012, Hillscourt Conference Centre, Rednal, Nr Birmingham B45 8RS. Flyer and booking form [pdf]Risks 545
Hazards news, 3 March 2012

Britain: NUJ condemns ‘bullying newsroom culture’
Journalists are being bullied by newspaper management and put under huge pressure to deliver the story at all costs, the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics has heard. Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the media union NUJ, gave evidence compiled from personal interviews with journalists that reveals what NUJ describes as a shocking catalogue of bullying and abuse in the newspaper industry.
NUJ news releaseLeveson Inquiry and pages including NUJ evidenceRisks 543
Hazards news, 18 February 2012

Britain: Excessive working time causes depression
A new study has concluded that working long hours - regardless of job stress or satisfaction - increases the risk of depression. Researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University College London followed nearly 2,000 middle-aged British civil servants for almost six years.
TUC Touchstone blog. Marianna Virtanen and others. Overtime work as a predictor of major depressive episode: A 5-year follow-up of the Whitehall II Study, PLoS ONE, volume 7, number 1, published online 25 January 2012. CBS NewsRisks 541
Hazards news, 4 February 2012

Global: ILO workplace stress prevention checkpoints
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has produced a manual of “easy-to-apply checkpoints for identifying stressors in working life and mitigating their harmful effects.” According to ILO the negative impacts of stress “can lead to poor work performance, high accident and injury rates, and low productivity.”
Stress Prevention at Work Checkpoints. Practical improvements for stress prevention in the workplace, ILO, January 2012 [full text pdf]Developing a workplace stress prevention programmeRisks 538
Hazards news, 14 January 2012

Britain: Tackle teacher stress or pay, says union
Schools must tackle soaring teacher stress, Scottish teaching union EIS has said. The union was speaking out after revealing the union had settled a six figure out-of-court compensation claim for a member who suffered a stress-related psychiatric injury after the employer failed to act on a series of warnings about excessive workloads.
EIS news releaseThe ScotsmanRisks 538
Hazards news, 14 January 2012

Global: OECD warning on rising mental problems
Mental illness is a growing problem in society and is increasingly affecting productivity and well-being in the workplace, according to a new OECD report. According to the report, three in four workers with a mental disorder report reduced productivity at work, compared to one in four workers without a mental disorder.
OECD news releaseSick on the job? Myths and realities about mental health at work, OECD, December 2011, full text, related OECD factsheet and webpageRisks 536
Hazards news, 17 December 2011

Britain: Warning as deadly stress set to soar
Unions and campaigners have warned of soaring stress levels among both the employed and unemployed as government-imposed cuts take hold. Thousands of workers are either worrying about losing their jobs or facing longer hours, increased workloads, wage reductions and reduced pensions while increasing bills and rocketing unemployment add to the misery, say occupational stress campaigners. 
Morning StarNational Work Stress NetworkWe didn’t vote to die at work campaignRisks 534
Hazards news, 3 December 2011

Britain: Travelling time adds to stress and fatigue
A TUC analysis of official statistics shows that employees spend nearly 200 hours a year travelling to and from work.
TUC news releaseRisks 532
Hazards news, 19 November 2011

Britain: UCU survey find stress is getting worse
Stress levels in further and higher education are on the rise, according to a new report published by the union UCU. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said it was “not acceptable” that at least four-fifths of university and college staff found their jobs stressful,” adding universities and colleges “are getting a reputation as stressful places to work and this report reveals that the problem is getting worse.”
UCU news releases on the higher education and further education studies • Risks 531
Hazards news, 12 November 2011

Britain: Bad bosses are bad for business
Employers that neglect concerns about trust in senior leaders, stress in the workplace or job satisfaction risk losing key staff, new research has concluded. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's (CIPD) quarterly Employee Outlook survey has found that employees are much more likely to be among the 22 per cent currently looking for a new employer if they express low trust in their senior managers, are dissatisfied with their job or are under excessive pressure every day.
CIPD news releaseRisks 529
Hazards news, 29 October 2011

Britain: Cuts hit mental health services
The TUC has warned that the government's spending cuts risk reversing vital progress made in the recognition and treatment of mental health issues in the UK. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The TUC fears that the government's spending cuts are undermining the increasing recognition of the extent of mental ill health problems we have seen in the workplace and beyond in recent years, and the measures that have been taken in response.”
TUC press releaseRisks 527
Hazards news, 15 October 2011

Japan: Overwork suicide payout is upheld
Japan’s Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal filed by two companies against a work-related suicide compensation award. A court order now requires camera and optical products giant Nikon Corp and a Nagoya-based temp agency to pay compensation of over £0.5m for the 1999 death of 23-year-old temporary worker Yuji Uendan, who killed himself because of overwork-induced depression.
Japan TimesJapan and Tokyo NewsMore on work-related suicideRisks 526
Hazards news, 8 October 2011

Britain: Work stress soars with job insecurity
Stress is now the number one cause of long-term absence across a workforce increasingly affected by job insecurity, a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey has found. The CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence Management survey concludes that for the first time stress is the most common cause of long-term sickness absence for both manual and non-manual employees.
CIPD news releaseTUC news releaseDaily MailRisks 526
Hazards news 8 October 2011

Britain: Lib Dems hypocrisy on work well-being
Large employers should be required to report on “employee satisfaction” levels, with directors struck off where there is a “serious failure to protect employees’ wellbeing”, the Liberal Democrats have said. The policy recommendations in a Quality of Life Policy Paper also call for a new National Institute for Wellbeing – but come as the coalition government guts the Health and Safety Executive and stages an unprecedented attack on safety regulations and enforcement.
A new purpose for politics: Quality of life. Policy Paper 102, Liberal Democrats, September 2011 [pdf] Simon Hughes MP news releaseRisks 525
Hazards news, 1 October 2011

Britain: Back injury ended carer’s career
A care worker from Leicestershire was forced was to give up her career after she damaged her back at work. Julie Bowler, 35, from Coalville, has been left unable to lift and suffering from back pain and sciatica after she was injured whilst working for Southern Cross-owned Rowans Nursing Home in 2010, after her requests for turn sheets were ignored.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 525
Hazards news, 1 October 2011

Britain: Busy mums more stressed out by work commute
Commuting for work is a cause of stress in women not observed in men, even though men typically spend more time getting to and from work. Researchers, who studied data from the British Household Panel Survey, suggest the reason could be that women have more responsibility for day-to-day household tasks, such as childcare and domestic chores.
Jennifer Roberts, Robert Hodgson and Paul Dolan. It's driving her mad: gender differences in the effects of commuting on psychological health, Journal of Health Economics, volume 30, issue 5, 2011 • The MirrorThe GuardianMarie ClaireRisks 520
Hazards news, 27 August 2011

Britain: Work stress network conference, Birmingham, 26-27 November 2011
The National Work Stress Network annual conference is to take place in Birmingham on the weekend of 26-27 November. The network says increasing economic and job insecurity is leading to more stress at work.
From recession to depression?, UK Stress Network national conference, Hillscourt Conference Centre, Rednal, near Birmingham, 26-27 November 2011.
UK Work Stress Network website and conference flyer and booking form [pdf]Risks 518
Hazards news, 13 August 2011

Germany: Unions call for healthy lunchtime siestas
German unions have called for a return to official siestas as part of the working day, referring to studies proving its health benefits. The DGB trades union confederation argues that a short, lunchtime power nap makes sense for health and performance reasons.
The GuardianRisks 515
Hazards news, 23 July 2011

Britain: Stroke payout after firm insists on stressful work
A worker advised by his doctor not to return to stressful work after suffering a stroke has been awarded nearly £400,000 in compensation after his employer indicated stress and long hours were part of the job. Jonathan Jones, a branch manager in Wales for builders' merchant Jewson, was dismissed on the grounds of incapacity five months after he suffered a stroke in April 2009.
Jackson Osborne news releaseWales OnlinePersonnel TodayRisks 514
Hazards news, 16 July 2011

Spain: Boring jobs can cause burnout
Boring, ‘under-challenging’, administrative and service jobs can lead to exhaustion and burnout, new research has found. A survey of 400 university employees found undertaking ‘monotonous and unstimulating’ tasks can lead to disenchantment and high stress levels.
Jesús Montero-Marín and others. Sociodemographic and occupational risk factors associated with the development of different burnout types: the cross-sectional University of Zaragoza study, BMC Psychiatry, volume 11, number 49, 2011 [abstract and full text] • The TelegraphThe GuardianRisks 512
Hazards news, 2 July 2011

Britain: Teacher wins bullying tribunal
A teacher who claimed her boss locked her in a cupboard at an exclusive private school has won an employment tribunal. Fiona Michie said she was bullied and threatened by her department head while working at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen.
STV NewsBBC News Online •  Aberdeen Evening ExpressRisks 511
Hazards news, 25 June 2011

Britain: GMB concern at contract ‘harassment’
A council trying to impose a new employment contract is bullying and harassing staff to sign, a union has said. GMB says some staff at Central Beds Council report they have been told by managers and councillors their “card will be marked” if they do not sign.
GMB news releaseRisks 510
Hazards news, 18 June 2011

Britain: Bullying hits hard as cuts bite
Six in ten workers across the UK have been bullied, or witnessed bullying, over the past six months, a survey by the union UNISON has found. The union is warning that government cuts are fuelling workplace bullying and silencing workers fearful for their jobs.
UNISON news releaseRisks 510
Hazards news, 18 June 2011

Britain: Engineers walk out on bully bosses
More than 550 engineers at Royal Mail subsidiary Romec have taken to the picket lines following claims of management bullying and ‘Big Brother’ abuses of the company's vehicle tracking systems. The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents more than half the firm's technicians, led strike action at mail centres across the country to protest against ill-treatment of its members.
CWU news releaseMorning StarRisks 510
Hazards news, 18 June 2011

Britain: Unite takes on stress epidemic
Workers' mental health is coming under increasing pressure as fears over jobs and cuts take their toll in the workplace, the union Unite has warned. In response, it says it will undertake groundbreaking research to gauge the extent of the stress epidemic and possible solutions.
TUC news releaseMind and Mind’s Taking care of business webpagesRisks 507
Hazards news, 28 May 2011

Britain: Teaching jobs blighted by bullying
Bullying is widespread in teaching and little is being done to tackle this “appalling” treatment, teaching unions have warned.
NASUWT news releaseATL news releaseRisks 503
Hazards news, 30 April 2011

Britain: Heads not ready to tackle teacher stress
Many headteachers have no idea how to tackle the high level of occupational stress afflicting teachers, the union NUT has warned. Christine Blower, the union’s general secretary, said despite recognition that teaching is “one of the most stressful professions to work in” and “stress is the predominant cause of work-related illness in the education sector,” too little is being done.
NUT news releaseRisks 503
Hazards news, 30 April 2011

Australia: Work bullies could face 10 years in jail
New penalties for workplace bullying to be introduced by an Australian state government have been welcomed by unions – but they are warning employers must be accountable for providing safe workplaces in which bullying does not occur in the first place. Ged Kearney, president of the national union federation ACTU, said employers, governments and workers had a shared responsibility to make workplaces safe, secure and free of harassment.
ACTU news releaseHerald SunRisks 501
Hazards news, 9 April 2011

Korea: Stroke death linked to job fear stress
The family of a worker who died of a stroke can receive industrial disaster compensation since his death was caused by stress arising from a warning of dismissal, a court has ruled. The man, who had worked at the fish processing company since 1998, collapsed at work and died from a cerebral haemorrhage in 2008.
Korea International Labour Foundation news reportRisks 501
Hazards news, 9 April 2011

Britain: UNISON supports stressed social workers
A new guide to help stressed-out, overloaded social workers improve their workplaces has been launched by UNISON Scotland. The union says ‘Keeping safe in the workplace’ aims to help social workers recognise when they are becoming stressed or overloaded at work and to seek support from their employers, trade union or professional association. UNISON news release • Safe in the workplace guide [pdf]Risks 499
Hazards news, 26 March 2011

Britain: ‘Mild’ stress damaging to work prospects
Even relatively mild stress can lead to long term disability and an inability to work, a new study has found. The authors say that it is important to consider their findings in the context of modern working life, which places greater demands on employees, and social factors, such as fewer close personal relationships and supportive networks.
Dheeraj Rai and others. Psychological distress and risk of long-term disability: population-based longitudinal study, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Online First, March 2011; doi 10.1136/jech.2010.119644 [abstract]Risks 499
Hazards news, 26 March 2011

Britain: Massage therapists get strains payouts
Two former beauty therapists who developed repetitive strain injuries through giving massages to air travellers have won a total of £300,430 damages from Virgin Atlantic. Jayne Evans and Michelle Hindmarch worked in the Clubhouse Lounge at Heathrow, giving frequent prolonged treatments, until they developed pain in their wrists, shoulders and backs.
The IndependentDaily MirrorBBC News OnlineRisks 498
Hazards news, 19 March 2011

USA: The hazards of fake smiles
The ‘have a nice day’ fixed grin required of many hospitality and other service staff could be seriously bad for their health. A study published in the Academy of Management Journal has discovered that fake smiles can actually depress mood and hurt health.
Brent A Scott, Christopher M Barnes. A multilevel field investigation of emotional labor, affect, work withdrawal, and gender, Academy of Management Journal, volume 54, number 1, February 2011 [abstract]Science DailyWellesley NewsRisks 497
Hazards news, 12 March 2011

Britain: Stress soars with rising job fear
Job cuts and runaway insecurity at work have led to a sharp upturn in workplace stress, a union survey has found. The poll for the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group (TUCG) found 1 in 5 workers report they are having to work harder as a result of job cuts in their workplace, with 1 in 7 in fear of losing their job.
FBU news release • TUCG surveyNAPO news releaseRisks 497
Hazards news, 12 March 2011

Britain: ‘Undue pressure’ killed worker, not suicide
The family of a construction worker who fell 33ft to his death at a Leeds sewage plant has spoken of its relief after an inquest found his death was the result of inadequate site safety and “undue” work pressure, and not suicide. Dad-of-two Andy Parkinson, 38, died from injuries he suffered in the fall at Yorkshire Water’s Knostrop works in 2008.
Telegraph and Argus
Yorkshire Evening PostRisks 496
Hazards news, 5 March 2011

Britain: Work pressures hurt families
Nearly one in three people in the UK have been in a relationship that has suffered because of work pressures, according to a new poll. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) questioned 2,000 people and found of the 29 per cent who said they had been in a relationship adversely affected by a poor work-life balance, the two main problems identified were long working hours and high workloads.
IOSH news releaseTUC work-life balance webpagesRisks 494
Hazards news, 19 February 2011

Britain: Over-stretched social workers facing burnout
UNISON has accused employers of exploiting social workers' commitment to their clients by making them do unpaid hours to fill the void left by staffing shortages. In a bid to address widespread burnout in social workers, the union and Community Care magazine have developed ‘The social work contract’, which includes a demand for social workers to get TOIL (time off in lieu) or pay for working overtime.
UNISON news release and online petitionMorning StarRisks 491
Hazards news, 29 January 2011

Britain: Inflexible and stressful work bad for kids
Inflexible, stressful and emotionally demanding jobs can undermine parenting confidence and contribute to emotional withdrawal from children, a new report had claimed. The Demos study found that while educational background has little effect on parenting style, work conditions did have an impact.
Demos news release and report, The home front, Demos, January 2011 [pdf]BBC News OnlineRisks 490
Hazards news, 22 January 2011

Britain: Probation hit by a 'toxic cocktail' of cuts
The probation service is being pushed to breaking point by a toxic cocktail of staff cuts and increased workloads, public sector union has UNISON warned. The union's survey of probation workers found that 69 per cent of workplaces in the sector were already suffering from staff cuts, with 80 per cent saying that workloads had increased in the last year leading to higher stress levels and a "collapse" in morale.
UNISON news releaseMorning StarRisks 485
Hazards news, 4 December 2010

Britain: End the 'culture of fear' at British Airways
British Airways should end the ‘culture of fear’ in the company and enter constructive negotiations, the union Unite has said. Unite confirmed this week that a fresh ballot for industrial action at the airline is soon to get underway.
Unite news releaseMorning StarRisks 485
Hazards news, 4 December 2010

USA: Job strain heart risk for women
Women with high job strain have a greatly increased risk of cardiovascular disease compared with those in less demanding posts, a new study suggests. They have an 88 per cent raised risk of a heart attack, and more chance of strokes and damage requiring coronary artery bypass surgery, US researchers said.
American Heart Association news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 483
Hazards news, 20 November 2010

Britain: Commute times down to 10 year low
The growth of home working has helped to cut average commute times to a 10 year low of 47 minutes and 48 seconds per day, a TUC analysis of official figures has shown.
TUC news release and Touchstone blogRisks 483
Hazards news, 20 November 2010

Britain: Health service staff ‘struggling’
Staff shortages, recruitment freezes and redundancies are set to exacerbate a health service resource crisis that has left frontline stressed and under severe pressure, public sector union UNISON has warned.
UNISON news releaseRisks 483
Hazards news, 20 November 2010

Britain: Call for action on work stress
The risks of stress are far greater than you might suppose, public service union UNISON has warned. The union was commenting on the 3 November National Stress Awareness Day. A report issued by mental health charity Mind on the day revealed millions of British workers have felt compelled to lie to their bosses about the cause of their stress-related sick leave.
UNISON news release and stress prevention guide [pdf]Mind news releaseThe GuardianRisks 482
Hazards news, 13 November 2010

Britain: Work stress hits people in and out of work
The global economic downturn led levels of work-related stress in the UK to soar, a British Academy report has concluded. Author Tarani Chandola, a University of Manchester sociologist, says those who kept jobs during the recession are affected as much as those left jobless.
British Academy news releaseStress at work, British Academy Policy Centre report
[pdf]BBC News OnlineRisks 481
Hazards news, 6 November 2010

Britain: Union targets not for profit stress
Voluntary sector union reps are being armed with campaign strategies to challenge funding-driven changes that could heap additional stress on their members. Unite says its 60,000 members in the sector are feeling the increasing pressure of central and local government spending cuts and the pursuit, by some managers, of a ‘more for less’ contract culture.
Unite news releaseRisks 481
Hazards news, 6 November 2010

Britain: Stress set to soar due to savage cuts
Time off work due to stress has risen in the past year, and is a greater problem in the public sector than in the private sector, new research suggests. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development adviser Dr Jill Miller said “organisational change and restructuring is cited more commonly by public sector employers than those in other sectors as a major cause of stress, which will only increase in the near future as a consequence of the recent Comprehensive Spending Review.”
CIPD news releaseBBC News OnlineMorning StarRisks 480
Hazards news, 30 October 2010

Britain: Soaraway stress warning from TUC
Stress, bulling and harassment, back strains, slips, trips and falls, and overwork top the list of workers' safety concerns, according to new TUC research. The union body's 2010 survey of safety reps found nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of reps say that stress is in the top five problems faced by the workers they represent.
TUC news releaseMorning StarRisks 480
Hazards news, 30 October 2010

Britain: Teachers exhausted by unreachable targets
Unrealistic goals and the high expectations of others are making teachers stressed and exhausted, researchers have warned. A study by Kent University revealed that teachers who were asked to do more than they were capable of delivering had higher stress levels and were more at risk of stress-related illnesses and burnout.
Teacher Support Network news releaseMorning StarRisks 473
Hazards news, 31 July 2010

Britain: Stress network conference, 27-28 November 2010
The National Stress Network’s annual conference will be held in the West Midlands on the weekend of 27-28 November. The theme is ‘Stress prevention to secure an effective workplace.’ The organisers note: “Failure to prevent a high stress climate in the workplace should lead to enforcement and prosecution. Prevention is central to success. Cures are too late and ineffective.”
National Stress Network Conference 2010, 27-28 November, Hillscourt Conference Centre, Nr Birmingham. Further details and application form [pdf]Risks 367
Hazards news, 31 July 2010

Britain: Research on mental health in teaching
A research report that found the pressures piled on teachers are so severe some staff have considered suicide, has been made available online. The survey for teaching union NASUWT found a lack of support from schools and their management teams was leading to stress, burnout and depression.
Teachers’ Mental Health: A study exploring the experiences of teachers with work-related stress and mental health problems - Research report for the NASUWTRelated NASUWT news releaseRisks 367
Hazards news, 31 July 2010

Britain: Sex assault trauma for prison gardener
A gardener at a young offenders’ institute had to give up work as a result a sexual assault by inmates. Unite member David Thomas suffered psychological trauma as a result of the May 2004 attack at HM Prison and Young Offenders Institution Onley, near Rugby, Warwickshire.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 466
Hazards news, 24 July 2010

Britain: Stressbusters target not-for-profits
Unite reps in the not-for-profit sector have embarked on a ‘Stressbusters’ campaign. All the union’s reps in the sector are being asked to participate in a national stress survey.
Unite Stressbusters campaignRisks 465
Hazards news, 17 July 2010

Europe: Stress hurts workers, but so what?
Most European company bosses are aware of serious stress problems in their workplaces, but most opt to do nothing concrete about it. New data from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) shows 79 per cent of European managers are concerned by work-related stress, but less than a third of companies have set procedures to deal with it.
European Agency news release and ESENER survey resultsRisks 460
Hazards news, 12 June 2010

Britain: Train deaths led to nervous breakdown
A Hull train driver suffered a nervous breakdown after he was involved in a fatal collision on a railway crossing. ASLEF member David Jarrad, 56, suffered post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and permanent phobic anxiety after the incident in June 2005 when his train hit a car crossing the line between Thorne and Goole.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 460
Hazards news, 12 June 2010

Britain: Stress again linked to the recession
Work pressures during the recession have caused a big rise in mental health problems, a mental health charity has said. A survey for Mind suggests that one in 11 British workers has been to their GP for stress and anxiety arising the financial squeeze and 7 per cent said they were prescribed medicines to help them cope.
Mind news release and Taking care of business campaignBBC News OnlineThe IndependentThe ObserverRisks 457
Hazards news, 22 May 2010

Britain: More overtime equals more heart risk
The more overtime you work, the greater your risk of heart disease, a study of UK workers has found. The study of 6,014 British civil servants, published online this week in the European Heart Journal and part-funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), followed the workers for an average of 11 years.
Marianna Virtanen, Jane E Ferrie, Archana Singh-Manoux, Martin J Shipley, Jussi Vahtera, Michael G Marmot, and Mika Kivimäki. Overtime work and incident coronary heart disease: the Whitehall II prospective cohort study. European Heart Journal, published ahead of print 11 May 2010. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehq124 [abstract and related editorial] • BBC News OnlineThe GuardianLos Angeles TimesRisks 456
Hazards news, 15 May 2010

Britain: Stress research and statistics
If you want some official background stats on workplace stress, or a quick look at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) research on the topic, then your task has just got a bit easier. HSE has produced a dedicated ‘Work related stress –research and statistics’ webpage.
HSE stress research and statistics webpageRisks 445
Hazards news, 8 May 2010

Britain: Young women 'face work stress risk'
Stress at work can greatly raise the risk of heart disease for women under 50, a study of more than 12,000 nurses suggests. The study, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, concludes work pressure has a greater effect on young women than those in their 50s and 60s.
Yrsa Andersen Hundrup and others. Psychosocial work environment and risk of ischaemic heart disease in women: the Danish Nurse Cohort Study, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 67, pages 318-322, 2010 [pdf] BBC News OnlineRisks 445
Hazards news, 8 May 2010

Britain: News staff stressed by ‘silly’ changes
Angry journalists are demanding Johnston Press Group stop making their local papers look silly through ill-thought out organisational changes that are also putting serious strain on overworked staff.
NUJ news releaseRisks 453
Hazards news, 24 April 2010

Britain: Overwork linked to chef’s death
A talented chef died last month from overwork, his family suspects. Nathan Laity, a sous chef at London’s Tate Modern restaurant, died on 13 March, aged 23.
Daily MailThe GuardianMetro NewsRisks 452
Hazards news, 17 April 2010

Britain: Recession leads to depression
The number of people suffering stress, anxiety and depression because of redundancies, job insecurity and pay cuts owing to the recession is soaring, a study has found. Worries about the effects of the downturn have produced a sharp rise in people experiencing symptoms of common mental health conditions, according to the report, by academics from Roehampton University and the children’s charity Elizabeth Finn Care.
Elizabeth Finn Care news releaseThe GuardianGMTVDaily ExpressRisks 451
Hazards news, 10 April 2010

Britain: Teaching stresses leave staff ‘suicidal’
The pressures piled on teachers are so severe some staff have considered suicide, research for the union NASUWT has found. Its survey found a lack of support from schools and their management teams was leading to stress, burnout and depression. occupational suicide webpagesRisks 451
Hazards news, 10 April 2010

Britain: Overwork stress costs worker his job
A university worker who had to work 65 hours a week has received £110,000 in compensation after he had to give up work due to stress. UCU member Mark Bannister, 49, had a history of anxiety and depression and despite complaining about the excessive workload, nothing was done to alleviate the pressure.
UCU news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 447
Hazards news, 13 March 2010

Britain: Church must act on clergy bullying
A culture of bullying has yet to be understood or addressed in the church and in other faiths, the union Unite is warning. Unite national officer Rachael Maskell will tell a London ‘Define Bullying’ event on 11 March of the large number of calls and emails - about 50 - the union has received in the wake of the Mark Sharpe victimisation case.
Unite news releaseDefine bullying event, 11 MarchRisks 446
Hazards news, 6 March 2010

Britain: National Stress Network conference report
If you want a start-of-the-art update on occupational stress, check out the report of the National Stress Network 2009 conference, made available free online this week. Papers cover health, enforcement and prevention.
National Stress Network conference reportRisks 441
Hazards news, 30 January 2010

Britain: Bullied hospital worker had breakdown
A bullied NHS manager, who suffered a nervous breakdown after being harassed over a three year period, has been awarded £150,000 in compensation. Nanette Bowen, a 55-year-old UNISON member from Llanelli, suffered stress and panic attacks, was signed off sick and, on one occasion, she was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack.
UNISON news releaseBBC News OnlineMorning StarRisks 439
Hazards news, 16 January 2010

Britain: Over five million worked for free
Over five million workers across the UK gave away £27.4 billion in unpaid overtime in 2009, a TUC analysis of official statistics has found. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “This long hours culture causes stress and damages people's health.”
TUC news releaseWork Your Proper Hours DayThe IndependentPersonnel TodayRisks 439
Hazards news, 16 January 2010

Britain: FT staff campaign for safe staffing
Journalists at the Financial Times have taken the latest step in their campaign to combat unsustainable workloads. Journalists’ union NUJ says cutbacks to editorial staffing levels mean the pressures on journalists have become too great.
NUJ news releaseRisks 438
Hazards news, 9 January 2009

Japan: Firm worked employee to death
A restaurant chain in Japan has been accused of working one of its employees to death. The Osaka Central Labour Standards Inspection Office sent an investigation report on local restaurant chain Isoji and its 60-year-old president to the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office.
Mainichi JapanRisks 436
Hazards news, 12 December 2009

Britain: Disability day call for action on stress
The union Unite has called for action to support the millions of workers struggling to cope with the daily impact of stress at work. Speaking on 3 December, the International Day of Disabled People, Unite’s Diana Holland said: “While disability discrimination is unlawful, it still happens, and mental health issues related to stress at work are not necessarily recognised as disability equality issues.”
UN news releaseUnite news releaseRisks 436
Hazards news, 12 December 2009

Britain: Disruptive pupils make teachers mad
Primary school teachers are suffering mental health problems as a result of dealing with disruptive pupils, according to a survey by the teaching union ATL. Over a quarter of the 1,078 teachers surveyed (26.5 per cent) said they had suffered from mental health problems and one in six (16.7 per cent) physical harm as a result of dealing with a pupil.
ATL news releaseRisk 435
Hazards news, 5 December 2009

Global: Unfair workplaces can kill you
Male workers are two to five times more likely to suffer a heart attack or die from heart disease if they suppress their frustration about unfairness at work, a Swedish study has found. The research found that those who expressed their frustration quickly were much healthier than those who suffered in silence.
Constanze Leineweber and others. Covert coping with unfair treatment at work and risk of incident myocardial infarction and cardiac death among men: Prospective cohort study, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Published online first 24 November 2009. doi:10.1136/jech.2009.088880 [abstract]The IndependentBBC News OnlineABC NewsRisks 434
Hazards news, 28 November 2009

Britain: Paper faces £800,000 stress payout
A News of the World reporter who suffered from a culture of bullying led by former editor Andy Coulson, who is now David Cameron's head of communications, has been awarded almost £800,000 for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. The Guardian reports Matt Driscoll, a sports reporter sacked in April 2007 while on long-term sick leave for stress-related depression, was awarded £792,736 by the employment tribunal.
The GuardianRisks 434
Hazards news, 28 November 2009

Britain: Payout for fired whistleblower
A council equalities officer who suffered years of stress and harassment and was sacked after blowing the whistle on management has been awarded £442,466 in compensation. UNISON member Pauline Scanlon had been “destroyed”, adding: “The council abused its power, ruined my reputation and sabotaged my attempts to find another job.”
UNISON news releaseThompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 434
Hzards news, 28 November 2009

Britain: Bosses told to tackle work stress
Employers need to pay more attention to the levels of stress and anxiety in the workplace, key health service advisers say. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said bad managers were the single biggest cause of problems.
Promoting mental well-being at work webpages • Promoting mental wellbeing through productive and healthy working conditions: guidance for employers, NICE, November 2009 [pdf] •  UNISON news release • Work Foundation news release • Acas news release • BBC News Online • The Telegraph
Hazards news,  14 November 2009

Britain: Job stress led to suicide
The pressure of an unwanted promotion led to a young professional's suicide, an inquest has heard. On his 29th birthday, 30 May this year, Benjamin Cheung drove his BMW to a secluded train station car park and stabbed himself three times with a kitchen knife.
Preston CitizenRisks 430
Hazards news, 31 October 2009

Britain: Soaring workloads lead to paper action
Weekly newspaper journalists in Nottinghamshire have passed a motion of no confidence in their bosses – and agreed to ballot for industrial action over workloads. Members of journalists’ union NUJ at the Worksop Guardian are concerned that non-replacement of staff, responsibility for another title, and a reorganisation have contributed to unreasonable demands and stress in their office.
NUJ news releaseRisks 430
Hazards news, 31 October 2009

Britain: Bully hell for young working women
Public sector union UNISON has teamed up with Company Magazine, the leading young women’s monthly, to launch a ‘Bully busters’ campaign. A poll to mark the start of the campaign found 1-in-3 young working women had been bullied at work, with 66 per cent of those respondents who had been bullied in the last six months saying the problem was ongoing.
UNISON news release and related Company Magazine article [pdf]Risks 429
Hazards news, 24 October 2009

Finland: You are making my brain hurt
Companies are showing a baffling disregard for the impact of work on their employees’ minds, a top brain researcher has said. Professor Kiti Müller, the director of the Brain and Work Research Centre at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, said the problem is compounded by the absence of any way to measure objectively and reliably the overall “brain load” level.
Trade Union News from FinlandThe Brain and Work Research Centre and How much load can the brain take? presentation [pdf]Risks 427
Hazards news, 10 October 2009

Britain: Job fear will depress sickness rates
A leading workplace stress expert has forecast that sickness absence will decline by up to a quarter over the next year across public and private sectors, but only because people will be too scared not to show up for work. Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, said: “There will be an element which is not stress- or 'presenteeism'-related, but it will drop by 20 per cent to 25 per cent at a time when it's been rising steadily.”
Personnel TodayRisks 427
Hazards news, 10 October 2009

Britain: New teachers left to ‘sink or swim’
The performance and ‘emotional wellbeing’ of new teachers is being put at risk by the practice of throwing them in at the deep end without adequate support. Teaching union NASUWT says too many schools are failing to help teachers new and recently qualified teachers to cope with poor pupil behaviour and other pressures.
NASUWT news releaseRisks 424
Hazards news, 19 September 2009

Korea: Stress killed insecure worker            
A Korean court has ruled that an employer is liable for the death of a female worker who died of stress caused by job insecurity. Judge Seo Tae-hwan of the Seoul Administrative Court said in the ruling: “It’s apparent that the deceased was under extreme stress over her job insecurity for five years during which she was a non-permanent worker at Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO).”
Korea Times
Hazards news,  5 September 2009

Britain: New support for workplace mental health
People with mental health problems will receive extra support to manage their conditions and help them hold on to their jobs, the government has said. Sophie Corlett, Mind's director of external relations, commented: “If employers put their mind to it and provide the right support they can keep their staff mentally well and fit for the workplace.”
DWP news release • The Guardian • Risks 421 
Hazards news, 29 August 2009

Britain: Pub managers call time on long hours
Pub managers are working longer hours than any other group in the UK and their health is suffering because of it, according to their union Unite. The union has now launched a manifesto for the sector, calling for a maximum 48 hour week, a minimum 25 days holiday and a sharper focus on health and safety and combating violence at work.
Unite pub industry manifesto [pdf] and Licensees Unite webpagesMorning AdvertiserThe PublicanRisks 419
Hazards news, 15 August 2009

Europe: Warning on recession related death risk
The stress triggered by job losses could see suicides rise across Europe if governments fail to take preventive action, according to a new study. Researchers concluded that soaring stress brought on by job losses could prompt a 2.4 per cent rise in suicide rates in people under 64 years of age, a 2.7 per cent rise in heart attack deaths in men between 30 and 44 years, and a 2.4 per cent rise in homicides rates.
LSHTM news release • David Stuckler and others. The public health effect of economic crises and alternative policy responses in Europe: an empirical analysis, The Lancet, 8 July 2009 • Science DailyThe GuardianSky NewsBBC News OnlineRisks 414
Hazards news, 11 July 2009

Britain: Council loses £1m sickness case
Cheltenham Borough Council has lost its High Court case against a former managing director after claiming she withheld a history of depressive illness. Mental health charity Mind said the ruling serves as an important reminder to employers about the importance of providing adequate support to people with mental health problems in the workplace.
Mind news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 411
Hazards news, 20 June 2009

Japan: Record numbers worked to death
Record numbers of Japanese workers were worked to death last year, according to official compensation figures. A total of 269 cases qualified for state compensation last year, one up on the preceding year and a record high for the third straight year.
Japan TodayRisks 410
Hazards news, 13 June 2009

Britain: Bullying probe after teacher dies
A member of staff has been suspended after bullying allegations were raised at an inquest into a teacher's death. Britt Pilton, 29, collapsed and died at High Greave Junior School in Rotherham in February, with a coroner concluding she Pilton died from the effects of bulimia which arose out of long-standing anxiety at the school.
BBC News OnlineThe SunDaily MirrorDaily MailRisks 410
Hazards news, 13 June 2009

Britain: Job problems drove school head to suicide
A headmaster hanged himself after discovering that the parents of a pupil were bringing a tribunal complaint about his school, an inquest has heard. Neil Sears, 52, who was found hanging from a heating pipe in the boiler room at Meadowgate School, in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, on 20 January this year left a note on a fax machine, which read: “I just give up, sorry.”
The TelegraphWisbech StandardNorfolk Eastern Daily PressPeterborough TodayHazards occupational suicide webpagesRisks 410
Hazards news, 13 June 2009

Britain: Two in five teachers sick with stress
More than two out of five teachers (43.9 per cent) have suffered from stress related illnesses, a new poll has revealed. The Teachers TV survey, based on responses from 772 primary and secondary school teachers, found a quarter of the affected teachers said they have lived with anxiety (27.1 per cent), with others suffering from depression and insomnia.
Teachers TV news releaseNASUWT news releaseRisks 410
Hazards news, 13 June 2009

Britain: Survivor stress hits the workplace
British workers are experiencing panic attacks and insomnia because of stress associated with the economic downturn, a survey has suggested. Norwich Union Healthcare polled 200 GPs, 200 business leaders and 1,000 employees for its Health of the Workplace survey and found half the workers admitted to being stressed, while one in five reported suffering depression.
BBC News OnlineRisks 409
Hazards news, 6 June 2009

Australia: Night nurses warn of health fears
For the first time, the life-threatening physical and psychological effects of shift work are being used to push for bigger pay packets for nurses and midwives in New South Wales, Australia. The NSW Nurses Association launched its claim in the Industrial Relations Commission this week, calling in experts to cite studies linking shift work with higher rates of breast cancer, heart disease, miscarriage, clinical depression and divorce.
NSWNA news release
Sydney Morning HeraldRisks 405
Hazards news, 9 May 2009

Britain: Promotion ‘bad for mental health’
Getting promoted at work may be bad for a person's mental health, a study suggests. Warwick University researchers questioned why people with higher job status seem to have better health and found no evidence of improved or diminished physical health after promotion – but they did find significantly greater mental strain.
Warwick University news release • Do people become healthier after being promoted?
[pdf]BBC News OnlineRisks 402
Hazards news, 18 April 2009

Britain: Schools pressure linked to mental illness
Schools are blighted by stress-induced mental illness and many teachers face burn-out before they retire, according to teaching union NUT. It says teachers in England and Wales have an almost 40 per cent greater rate of suicide than the general population.
The GuardianCrying shame, Hazards 101, 2008Risks 402
Hazards news, 18 April 2009

Britain: Government defends excessive working time
The TUC has criticised the government for its role in frustrating discussions in Europe to end the UK's opt-out from the 48-hour working week ceiling. A conciliation meeting last week between MEPs and employment ministers ended without agreement.
TUC news releaseBERR news releaseRisks 401
Hazards news, 11 April 2009

Britain: School stress cost head her job
A teacher who left her job because of stress and allegations of racism has been awarded six figure damages. NUT member Erica Connor, 57, a former teacher at New Monument Primary School in Woking, was awarded £407,781 for psychiatric injury suffered and loss of income.
BBC News OnlineThe TelegraphPersonnel TodayThe IndependentRisks 399
Hazards news, 28 March 2009

Britain: Pupil attack ends teacher’s career
A teacher who was attacked by a 12-year-old pupil has had to take ill-health retirement as a result. NASUWT member Colin Adams, 51, who taught ICT at Kingswood Community School for eight years, was left with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and received a £275,000 payout.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 399
Hazards news, 28 March 2009

Britain: Pupil attack ends teacher’s career
A teacher who was attacked by a 12-year-old pupil has had to take ill-health retirement as a result. NASUWT member Colin Adams, 51, who taught ICT at Kingswood Community School for eight years, was left with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and received a £275,000 payout.
Thompsons Solicitors news releaseRisks 399
Hazards news, 28 March 2009

Europe: Cancer warning on night work
A top UK occupational health researcher has warned that the UK authorities are lagging behind their Scandinavian counterparts when it comes to action on night work hazards, linked to cancer and other chronic health problems. Stirling University’s Professor Andrew Watterson said the problem was being neither properly recognised nor addressed in the UK.
BBC News Online and The Investigation radio showThe ScotsmanTelegraphDaily MailThe GuardianRisks 398
Hazards news, 21 March 2009

Britain: Job insecurity causes lasting stress
Job insecurity is causing lasting anxiety and stress, with men worse affected than women. A Cambridge University study found that when unemployed men move into insecure jobs, they show no improvement in psychological health and reported the long-term decline in mental well-being can also be worse for people who are under threat of losing their jobs than for those who are actually made redundant.
The ScotsmanPersonnel TodayRisks 397
Hazards news, 14 March 2009

Britain: New HSE website ‘to prevent work stress’
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has unveiled a new stress website it says will help businesses prevent work-related stress. The new resource focuses on its stress management standards, which the safety watchdog says have already been used successful by “many organisations.”
HSE news release, stress website and related case historiesRisks 396
Hazards news, 7 March 2009

Britain: ‘Robust’ action needed on sea fatigue
Seafarers’ union Nautilus is urging the government to act on an official call for measures to combat seafarer fatigue.                                     
Nautilus news releaseMAIB Antari investigation reportRisks 396
Hazards news, 7 March 2009

Britain: Recession brings unpaid work pressures
Around five million workers are doing an average of seven hours and six minutes unpaid overtime a week, according to the TUC. The number of people working unpaid overtime across the workforce has been stable since last year, the union body said, but added the recession was leading to some working longer hours and others struggling for work.
TUC news release and Work Your Proper Hours Day (27 February) adviceRisks 395
Hazards news, 28 February 2009

Britain: Depression follows illness to work
 Individuals returning to work following absence due to a physical condition such as back pain, cancer or heart disease are at risk of mild to moderate depression, researchers have found. But they say those who do become depressed worry about telling their employers.
Returning to work, the role of depression – webpage, full report and executive summaryBBC News OnlineRisks 393
Hazards news, 14 February 2009

Global: Work stress increases caesarean births
Women who stop working at least a month before their baby is due are four times less likely to have a caesarean delivery because they are less tired and anxious, research has found.
Sylvia Guendelman and others. Maternity leave in the ninth month of pregnancy and birth outcomes among working women, Women’s Health Issues, volume 19, issue 1, Pages 30-37, January 2009 [abstract]
Sylvia Guendelman and others. Juggling work and breastfeeding: Effects of maternity leave and occupational characteristics, Pediatrics, volume 123: pages e38-e46, January 2009 [abstract]
Sydney Morning HeraldRisks 389
Hazards news, 17 January 2009

Britain: Unions welcome EU working time action
Trade unions have welcomed December’s decisive vote by the European Parliament to end the UK's opt-out from Europe's 48 hour average working week. To demonstrate the consequences of excessive working hours, GMB published a dossier of recent public and workplace deaths linked to overwork.
GMB news release and dossierUCATT news releasePCS news releaseRisks 388
Hazards news, 10 January 2009

Britain: TUC warning on unpaid overtime
More than five million people worked unpaid overtime in 2008, bringing its total value across the UK to a record £26.9 billion, according to a new analysis of official statistics published by the TUC. The union body warned a recent trend to shorter hours has been reversed and says the economic downturn could increase the pressure to work for free.
TUC news releaseWork Your Proper Hours Day, Friday 27 February 2009Risks 388
Hazards news, 10 January 2009

Europe: Stress agreement makes a difference
A European Union-wide workplace stress agreement between business and unions has led to real improvements, a report has concluded. The report was presented in the presence the EU employment commissioner by the key signatories, business organisations CEEP, BUSINESSEUROPE and UEAPME and union federation ETUC, who said the initiative has been “a catalyst for action.”
ETUC news releaseImplementation of the European autonomous framework agreement on work-related stressRisks 387
Hazards news, 20 December 2008

Britain: Higher education stress way above normal levels
The stress experienced by workers in higher education greatly exceeds levels laid down in the Health and Safety Executive’s management standards, according to the college union UCU.
UCU news release • Tackling stress in higher education, UCU survey findings
[pdf] • 2008 occupational stress survey - responses by HEI [pdf]Risks 387
Hazards news, 20 December 2008

Britain: Rail unions to fight job cuts and zero hours
Rail unions have pledged to fight job cuts and plans to introduce zero hours contracts at the Deutschebahn-owned railfreight company EWS. Condemning the firm’s plan to sack 530 workers, RMT challenged EWS to confirm that there will be no compulsory job losses and that the firm will end the “disgraceful” practice of employing people on zero-hours contracts.
RMT news releaseTSSA news releaseASLEF news releaseLloyd’s ListRoad TransportRisks 387
Hazards news, 20 December 2008

Britain: Forty-eight hour opt out must go
Ending the UK’s opt-out from Europe’s 48 hour average working week would cause business little difficulty, the TUC has said. A TUC report published on 15 December, ahead of the vote at the European Parliament on the working hours rule, said the move would also improve the health and safety of long hours workers and reduce the risks of accidents caused by overtired and stressed workers.
TUC news release and report, Ending the opt-outs from the 48 hour week - Easy steps to decent working time [pdf] • NUJ news releasePSI news releaseSocialist Group in the European Parliament news releaseThe GuardianRisks 387
Hazards news, 20 December 2008

Europe: MEPs vote to end working time opt-out
The European Parliament has voted decisively to end the UK's opt-out from Europe's 48 hour average working week. MEPs voted by 421 to 273 to remove the opt-out from a revised working time directive approved by EU employment ministers in June; the European Parliament will now open negotiations with the Council of Ministers to seek agreement with them on the issue.
TUC news releaseRisks 387
Hazards news, 20 December 2008

Britain: Further education causes further stress
A survey of 3,000 further education staff has found their stress levels exceed the averages for British workers on all seven key indicators.
UCU news release • UCU reports: Tackling stress in further education
[pdf] and Tackling stress in prison education [pdf]Risks 386
Hazards news,13 December 2008

Sweden: Bad bosses are bad for your heart
Badly behaved and incompetent bosses not only make work stressful, they can increase the risk of heart disease for their employees, new research suggests. The study, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, concluded feeling undervalued and unsupported at work can cause stress, which often fosters unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking, that can lead to heart disease.
BBC News OnlinePersonnel Today
A Nyberg and others. Managerial leadership and ischaemic heart disease among employees: the Swedish WOLF study, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2008, doi:10.1136/oem.2008.039362
[pdf]Risks 384
Hazards news, 29 December 2008

Britain: Downturn could lead to more bullying
The economic downturn could lead to more bullying at work, the TUC has warned. The alert comes as new figures from TUC have identified workplace bullying as one of the top 10 workplace problems identified by safety reps.
TUC news release and TUC safety reps survey 2008Ban Bullying at Work DayRisks 382
15 November 2008

Europe: MEPS vote to scrap work hours opt-out
The TUC has welcomed a decision by the employment and social affairs committee of the European Parliament to scrap the Working Time Directive opt-out within three years. The amendments proposed by the committee will be the considered at a plenary session at the European Parliament’s December meeting, and will need an absolute major vote to be adopted. 
European Parliament news releaseTUC news releaseETUC news releaseRisks 381
Hazards news, 8 November 2008

Britain: Bank holiday needed to ease stresses
As recession and work worries hit home, workers need a break – and a new bank holiday could be just the job. On 27 October - the halfway point of the longest gap between UK bank holidays - the TUC and the UK's leading voluntary organisations put their case for a new Community Day bank holiday.
TUC news releaseCommunity Day campaign • Why the UK can afford a Community Day
[pdf]Risks 380
1 November 2008

Britain: Commute times starting to decline
The number of people spending more than one hour per day commuting to work fell by 206,000 in 2007, according to TUC. The TUC analysis of official Labour Force Survey (LFS) figures - produced to coincide with Workwise UK's Commute Smart week, the last week in October -  shows a fall of one per cent from 2006 in employees undertaking commuter journeys of longer than one hour.
Work Wise UK news release and Commute Smart Week webpagesTUC news releaseRisks 380
1 November 2008

Britain: Work’s stresses and strains are top concerns
Stress or overwork, injuries and illnesses caused by the poor use of display screen equipment and repetitive strain injuries (RSI) top the list of workers' safety concerns, according to the TUC's biennial survey of safety reps.
TUC news releaseWales TUC news releaseNorthern TUC news releaseTUC biennial survey of safety reps 2008Risks 380
Hazards news, 1 November 2008

Britain: Workers need mental health support
The UK needs a major rethink of workers' mental health during the current economic uncertainty, government advisers have said. Professor Cary Cooper, one of the authors of the report from the Foresight group, said a pressing issue was the number of workers who did not feel able to take time off when they were sick or stressed.
Foresight Mental Capital and Well-being webpages and report executive summary [pdf]DIUS news releaseBBC News OnlineRisks 379
Hazards news, 25 October 2008

Britain: Working through mental problems
The government says it is pushing new funds into its Access to Work scheme with the aim of helping people facing mental problems to say in work. Work and pensions secretary James Purnell said the funding increase would allow support to be made available for people with mental health conditions either already in work and experiencing difficulty, or those about to enter employment, as well as for their employers.
DWP news releaseShifting responsibilities, sharing costs: The mental health challenge for welfare reform, Jessica Prendergrast, Beth Foley and Tom Richmond, SMF, October 2008 • Risks 377
Hazards news, 11 October 2009

India: Stressed Indians leave call centres
A 23-year-old man, barely out of college, has been recovering from a heart attack in hospital. According to a report on the BBC News website, his doctor lays the blame with stress and odd hours of work at a Mumbai call centre.
Who moved my job? More on work-related heart attacksRisks 376
Hazards news, 4 October 2008

Britain: NUJ launches major anti-stress campaign
Journalists’ union NUJ has launched a major campaign to combat stress. The union says as media organisations continue to cut back on investment in journalism, it has been receiving increasing reports from members that pressures have become so great they represent a risk to journalists’ health and safety.
NUJ news release and campaign, Stressed Out: Putting a stop to stress at workRisks 375
Hazards news, 27 September 2008

Australia: Trackers ‘drive employees over edge’
Employers are fitting out company vehicles with invasive GPS tracking systems despite claims the technology unnecessarily invades staff privacy and contributed to the suicide of a telecommunications engineer last year. One such tracker, the GoFinder Reporter, sends employers detailed daily time sheets showing every stop made, parked time, driving time, distance covered, maximum speed and even an estimate of the amount of fuel used.
Risks 374
Hazards news, 20 September 2008

Britain: Unions reduce long hours burden
UK workers still work the longest hours in Western Europe, but UK unions have been particularly effective in winning shorter hours for their members. A report last week from Eurofound - the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions - revealed that full-time employees in the UK put in 41.4 hours per week.
Eurofound news release and full reportRisks 373
Hazards, 13 September 2008

Australia: Sleepy shift workers on crash course
Sleep-deprived shift workers are driving themselves to car crashes, trauma surgeons and early graves. While only 14 per cent of Australians are regular shift workers, they make up half the road trauma patients treated at one hospital.
Herald Sun and related story on fatigued ambulance workers.
Risks 272

Hazards news, 6 September 2008

Britain: Overwork and stress are top work concerns
Overwork and stress are the top problems facing workers, according to new TUC research. Its 'What workers want' report is based on an extensive YouGov poll of more than 2,500 people at work in Britain, and identifies safety as both a top three concern and an action priority.
What workers want - an agenda from the workplace, for the workplace, full report [pdf] and poll figures [pdf] • Risks 272
Hazards news, 6 September 2008

Britain: New bank holiday would benefit businesses
Nearly one million UK businesses could benefit from a new bank holiday with workers also benefiting from improved health and well-being, according to a new TUC report. TUC is calling for a ‘Community Day’ bank holiday in late October “to celebrate and encourage volunteering and community activity.”
Community Day campaign • Why the UK can afford a Community Day, TUC report [pdf]Risks 371
Hazards news, 30 August 2008

Britain: Millions now ‘jittery about their jobs’
More than 3.3 million workers, 13 per cent of the workforce, are not confident they will still be in their job in a year’s time, according to a new YouGov poll commissioned by the TUC. Workers in medium sized businesses are the least confident with 18 per cent of staff in firms with 50 to 249 workers saying they are not confident of being in their jobs in a year, compared to 12 per cent in big workplaces (more than 1,000 employees).
Risks 371
Hazards news, 30 August 2008

Britain: Wembley horror witness denied payout
A worker who suffered a serious psychiatric injury after he saw a workmate die during the construction of the new Wembley Stadium has lost his claim for damages. The judge concluded that 43-year-old Stephen Monk was not a “primary victim” of the negligent conduct of the crane operator for which PCH had admitted liability, because he did not satisfy the conditions necessary to be regarded either as a rescuer or as an “unwilling participant” in the accident.
Risks 368
Hazards news, 9 August 2008

Britain: Nine of out 10 hacks say bullying affects them
Nine out of ten journalists who responded to a survey by media union NUJ said they had been affected by bullying. The survey, carried out on the union's website, showed that 74 per cent of respondents had themselves been bullied whilst a further 18 per cent had witnessed it happening in their workplace.
NUJ bullying handbook [pdf]Risks 366
Hazards news, 26 July 2008

Britain: Action needed on hours at sea
Port authorities need to get tough on seafarers’ working hours, the union Nautilus UK has warned.
Risks 364
Hazards news, 12 July 2008

Britain: Inquest told of mother’s work stress
A nurse who was suffering from work-related stress was found dead after consuming a cocktail of sedatives, an inquest has heard. Statements read at Michele Wood’s inquest, where the coroner recorded an open verdict, revealed how the pressures of her job mounted in the days leading up to her disappearance.
Ipswich Evening Star Hazards suicide webpages Risks 361
Hazards news, 21 June 2008

Norway: Overtime causes anxiety and depression
If you work a lot of overtime, especially on a low income or doing heavy manual labour, you're at increased risk of anxiety and depression. Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway found even moderate overtime hours appears to raise the risk of “mental distress” and said their results support EU-style regulation setting a working hours ceiling.
Elisabeth Kleppa, Bjarte Sanne and Grethe S Tell. Working overtime is associated with anxiety and depression: The Hordaland Health Study, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, volume 50, number 6, pages 658-666, June 2008 [abstract] Risks 361
Hazards news, 21 June 2008

Britain: Mixed progress on agency and hours laws
The UK government will keep its opt-out from the European Union’s 48 hour weekly work ceiling, but has agreed a series of improvements to working time rules. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the Socialist Group of MEPs in the European Parliament have both said they will challenge the working time compromise.
TUC news release and briefing on changes to working time rulesETUC news releaseSocialist Group of MEPs news releaseBERR news releaseRisks 360
Hazards news, 14 June 2008

Britain: Unwelcome return of the long hours culture
An extra 180,000 people across the UK are now working more than 48 hours a week, according to a TUC analysis of official statistics. The figures, included in a new TUC report, ‘The return of the long hours culture’, show the number of people working long hours has increased at a faster rate over the last year than the decline in excessive working between 1998 and 2006.
TUC news release and report, The return of the long hours culture [pdf]Risks 360
Hazards news, 14 June 2008

Australia: Job stress causes depression
High work demands are to blame for widespread depression in Australian workers, with women workers worst affected, according to Melbourne University research. The study, led by associate professor Tony LaMontagne, found that almost one in six cases of depression among workers in the state of Victoria was caused by job stress.
The AgeThe AustralianRisks 359
Hazards news, 7 June 2008

Britain: Stress inaction requires enforcement action
The TUC has welcomed new research showing how managers can take action to prevent workplace stress, but has said those who don’t get the message should face a genuine prosecution risk.
CIPD news releaseTUC news releaseRisks 359
Hazards news, 7 June 2008

Japan: Toyota acts on deadly overwork
Toyota is taking steps to deal with a corporate culture that been linked to deaths from overwork. From June, the company is to pay workers overtime for attending out-of-hours ‘kaizen’ or quality control (QC) circle meetings - it previously only allowed workers to claim two hours' overtime a month for such “voluntary” activities.
Asahi ShimbunBBC News OnlineMore on karoshi and karojisatsuRisks 358
Hazards news, 31 May 2008

Britain: Unions act on education’s mental stresses
Unions representing workers in education have issued guidance designed to remedy work-related mental health problems in the sector. A joint letter to head teachers from the unions GMB, NUT, UNISON and Unite says their new guide “will, we hope, provide you with valuable information, both on how to prevent the development of mental health conditions and on how to support staff who do fall ill.”
NUT news release and joint union guide, Preventing work-related mental health conditions by tackling stress: Guidance for head teachers [pdf]Hazards work-related suicides news and resourcesRisks 358
Hazards news, 31 May 2008

Britain: Workers need mental health support
A new TUC guide is intended to help employers and unions support people with mental health problems at work. TUC says every organisation in Britain is affected by mental distress and ill-health in the workplace, and at any given time one in six workers will experience depression, anxiety, or stress-related problems.
TUC news release • Representing and supporting members with mental health problems at work [pdf]Risks 357
Hazards news, 24 May 2008

Global: Dangers of mind-numbing jobs
Boring jobs turn our mind on to autopilot, say scientists - and this means we can seriously mess up some simple tasks. Monotonous duties switch our brain to “rest mode,” whether we like it or not, the researchers report in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.
Tom Eichele and others. Prediction of human errors by maladaptive changes in event-related brain networks, PNAS, volume 105, number 16, pages 6173-6178, 22 April 2008 [abstract]Risks 353
Hazards news, 26 April 2008

Britain: Depression hidden because of work stigma
A third of people with clinical depression say they have been turned down for jobs because of their mental health problems, a study has found. More than two-thirds (71 per cent) feared that disclosing their depression to colleagues would have a detrimental impact on their careers, according to the research by charity Depression Alliance.
Depression Alliance news release [pdf]Risks 353
Hazards news, 26 April 2008

Britain: Payout deal for stressed teacher
A teacher who said his job ruined his health has been paid a “substantial” sum as compensation for his ordeal. NUT member Andrew Massey, 54, has been unable to work since going sick with stress from New College in Leicester.
BBC News OnlineLeicester MercuryHazards suicide reportRisks 353
Hazards news, 26 April 2008

France: Stress crisis prompts national action
An apparent workplace stress crisis afflicting French workplaces had prompted the government to launch an evaluation of the extent of the problem and to plan a surveillance system for work-related suicides.
REHS news releases on the Peugeot report and the French government stress studyHazards work-related suicides webpagesRisks 350
Hazards news, 5 April 2008

Britain: Government warning on driver fatigue
One in five of all crashes on major roads are caused by tired drivers but research shows many motorists are ignoring the simplest sign - the common yawn - that it's time for a break. A new government campaign featuring acting star Joseph Fiennes sets out to remind motorists of the dangers of driving when tired – and says it is a particular problem for working drivers.
DfT news release and driver fatigue campaignRisks 349
Hazards news, 29 March 2008

USA: Long work hours create deadly risks
Prolonged work days that often extend late into the night may cause Americans to fall asleep or feel sleepy at work, drive drowsy and lose interest in sex, according to a Sleep in America poll released by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Darrel Drobnich, NSF acting chief executive officer, said: “The impact of not getting good sleep is far reaching and has Americans compromising their productivity, safety, health and relationships – both on the job and at home.”
National Sleep Foundation news release Risks 346
Hazards news, 8 March 2008

Brazil: Injunction forces hours cut for truckers
A court in Brazil has ruled that companies should limit truckers’ working day to eight hours on safety grounds. The preliminary injunction, which was imposed by prosecutors in Cuiaba in Mato Grasso, applies to transport companies across Brazil and came in response to evidence that trucks are involved in 70 per cent of accidents on Mato Grasso highway and that over half (51 per cent) of truckers passing through Mato Grosso use or have used drugs to stay awake.
ITF news report Risks 346
Hazards news, 8 March 2008

Britain: Capital drivers push bus firms for hours cut
London's 23,000 bus drivers are demanding a standard wage and safe driving hours across all the city's bus operators. Safety measures in the claim include a maximum of 4 hours and 30 minutes of continuous driving duty before a break, 7 hours and 36 minutes maximum time on duty per day, and a limit of 38 hours per week on duty.
Unite news releaseRisks 346
Hazards news, 8 March 2008

Britain: Victory on offshore working time
Unions have hailed a “fantastic” tribunal ruling giving about 10,000 offshore workers two weeks' paid holidays. The decision, affecting drillers, caterers and subsea workers, follows a long-running battle over offshore workers’ rights under the Working Time Regulations.
Risks 345
Hazards news, 1 March 2008

Britain: Firms are not learning long hours lesson
The average British manager works the equivalent of 40 days a year in unpaid overtime, a survey has revealed. The Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) survey of 1,511 managers found 89 per cent regularly worked more than their contracted hours, with the benefit to industry and commerce 184 million extra days of unpaid effort, but the downside lower morale, poor health and declining productivity.
CMI news releaseRisks 344
Hazards news, 23 February 2008

Britain: TUC warning on driving hours review
The government must improve driving time rules for professional drivers, TUC has said. Commenting on the Department for Transport's review of the working time regulations for heavy goods vehicle (HGV) and coach drivers, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “This review has identified substantial abuse of the law,” adding: “This must be addressed as a matter of urgency in order to keep our roads safe.”
TUC news releaseITF news releaseRisks 344
Hazards news, 23 February 2008

Britain: Go on, work your proper hours!
Nearly five million people are putting in an average of over seven hours unpaid overtime a week. If they worked all their unpaid overtime at the start of the year, 22 February would be the first day they’d get paid, which is why the TUC have named this date 'Work Your Proper Hours Day'.
TUC news releaseWork Your Proper Hours Day, 22 February 2008Risks 343
Hazards news, 16 February 2008

Australia: Stress drives workers to road rage
Overworked and underpaid employees are being driven to road rage, according to research that suggests employers must take more responsibility for displays of aggression outside the workplace. The Work and Stress Research Group at the University of South Australia found “individuals who suffer a perceived imbalance between high effort and low reward in the workplace may develop increased over-commitment and general anger, which in turn increases the individual's tendency to experience frequent and intense anger in driving,” adding “driving anger increased with levels of ERI [effort reward imbalance].”
Benjamin L Hoggan and Maureen F Dollard. Effort–reward imbalance at work and driving anger in an Australian community sample: Is there a link between work stress and road rage?, Accident Analysis and Prevention, volume 39, pages 1286-1295, 2007 [abstract]Risks 342
Hazards news, 9 February 2008

Europe: More hit by psychosocial risks
New forms of employment contracts, job insecurity, work intensification, high emotional demands, violence at work and a poor work-life balance are taking a heavy toll on an increasing number of Europe’s workers. The emerging psychosocial risks are spelled out in an expert forecast from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s (EU-OSHA) European Risk Observatory (ERO).
EU-OSHA news release and factsheet on emerging psychosocial risksExpert forecast on emerging psychosocial risks related to occupational safety and health Risks 341
Hazards news, 2 February 2008

Britain: Work stress causes heart disease
Stressed workers suffer a greatly increased risk of heart disease, a study of UK civil servants has found. Those under 50 who said their work was stressful were 68 per cent more likely to develop heart disease than the stress-free.
Tarani Chandola and others. Work stress and coronary heart disease: what are the mechanisms?, European Heart Journal, published online 23 January 2008. oi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehm584 • Risks 340
Hazards news, 26 January 2008

Britain: Shiftwork linked early retirement in women
Shiftwork may increase the risk of enforced early retirement among women, suggests new research. Researchers used information from just under 8,000 male and female employees, who were part of the Danish Work Environment Cohort Study, which began in 1990, and data from the national welfare register.
Finn Tüchsen, Karl Bang Christensen, Thomas Lund, and Helene Feveile, A 15 year prospective study of shift work and disability pension, Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Published Online First: 15 January 2008. doi:10.1136/oem.2007.036525 [Abstract] Risks 339
Hazards news, 19 January 2008

Britain: Charity warning on bullying at work
Bullying in the workplace is “endemic” in the UK, affecting 80 per cent of employees, the Samaritans has warned. The findings are published as part of the charity's campaign to highlight the importance of mental health at work.
TUC bullying webpages Risks 339
Hazards news, 19 January 2008

Australia: Action call on shiftwork cancer risk
One of Australia's biggest unions has called for a review of working hours after an International Agency for Research on Cancer study found people who work night shifts have a higher risk of contracting cancer. AWU national health and safety officer, Yossi Berger, said the “frightening report” had confirmed the union's worst fears, and added: “You can earn a lot more money working these shifts but you may find yourself using the money on a designer oxygen tent.”
AWU news release • IARC news release [pdf]Global union zero cancer campaignRisks 338
Hazards news,12 January 2008

Britain: Overworked probation officer 'forced out'
An overworked probation officer was forced to sell his house and car as he pursued a three-year legal battle to prove he was a victim of discrimination. Now an employment tribunal has ruled that Steven Collingwood, 38, of Carlisle, did suffer disability discrimination and harassment after a nervous breakdown was brought on by overwork in November 2004.
News and StarWorked to death resourcesRisks 338
Hazards news,12 January 2008

Britain: Mental health is a workplace issue
Stress is one of top workplace health problems – and it comes with a big cost. A new policy paper published by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (SCMH) says mental ill health costs UK employers more than £25bn a year.
SCMH news releaseMental health at work: Developing the business case, Policy paper 8 [pdf]
Hazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Tragedy highlights deadly teacher stress
Further evidence of the deadly stresses facing education staff has emerged after another teacher suicide. Keith Waller, 35, an experienced primary school teacher who was highly regarded by colleagues, pupils and parents took his own life, after complaining he felt “singled out” and placed under excessive scrutiny after the school received a poor Ofsted report in 2006.
East Anglian Daily TimesDaily MailHazards guide to the deadly dangers of overwork, including work-related suicide
Hazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Pilots welcome call for fatigue probe
A call for research into the long term effects of fatigue on air crew has been welcomed by pilots’ union BALPA.
BALPA news releaseScience and Technology – First report, House of Lords Science and Technology Committee
Hazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Ofsted inspection ‘led to death’
A head teacher killed himself, with the action “triggered” by fears over an Ofsted inspection of his primary school the following day, a coroner has ruled. Jed Holmes was off work with stress when he was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning at his flat; he died on the eve of an Ofsted inspection in July 2007 at Hampton Hargate Primary School, Peterborough.
BBC News OnlineHazards guide to the deadly dangers of overwork, including work-related suicide
Hazards news, 15 December 2007

Japan: Court rules man was worked to death
A court in central Japan has ordered the government to pay compensation to a woman who argued that her 30-year-old husband died from overwork at Toyota Motor Corp, Japan's largest car maker. Hiroko Uchino filed the suit after a local Labour Ministry office rejected applications for workers’ compensation benefits she filed after the death of her husband, Kenichi, said Hiroko Tamaki, a lawyer for the plaintiff.
Japan TimesSan Francisco ChronicleMore from Hazards on karoshi and karojisatsu
Hazards news, 8 December 2007

Britain: Controversy over mental health measures
The government will treble the number of employment advisers in GP surgeries and pilot a new £8m advice and support service for smaller businesses as part of a new approach it says will help people with stress and other mental health conditions find and keep work. The drive to get people with mental health problems off benefits and into work has been criticised by mental health charity Mind.
DWP news releaseMind news release
Hazards news, 1 December 2007

Britain: Long hours working on the rise again
A culture of working long hours is on the rise once more in the UK after a decade of gradual decline, according to figures published this week by the TUC. More than one in eight of the British workforce now work more than 48 hours a week, the maximum allowed under the law unless workers agree to waive that limit - HSE’s enforcement database records just two successful prosecutions for breaches of the 1998 Working Time Regulations.
TUC news releaseBBC News Online
Hazards news, 1 December 2007

Britain: NHS workloads are stressing staff out
Overworked and overloaded health service workers are so stressed six out of 10 say they have considered packing in their jobs in the past year. A survey for health unions of just under 25,000 employees working throughout the NHS found that over half the staff questioned (57 per cent) were working more than their contracted hours and over four-fifths (84 per cent) said that their workload had increased in the last year.
TUC news release
Hazards news, 10 November 2007

Britain: Stress lays low Edinburgh’s home helpers
Scores of home helpers in Edinburgh have been signed off sick due to the stress of their jobs. An average of one in seven is absent on any given day, with stress singled out as the predominant cause.
The Scotsman
Hazards news, 3 November 2007

Global: Work stress linked to heart risk
People who go back to a stressful job after a heart attack are more prone to a second attack than those whose work is not stressful. Canadian researchers followed over 1,000 patients returning to work and found those with job strain were twice as likely to fall ill.
JAMA news release • Corine Aboa-Éboulé and others. Job strain and risk of acute recurrent coronary heart disease events, Journal of the American Medical Association, volume 298, number 14, pages 1652-1660, 2007 [abstract]Hazards worked to death webpages
Hazards news, 13 October 2007

France: Survey confirms firm’s deadly stresses
A trade union survey has confirmed high levels of work-related stress at a French car factory that has been hit by a series of suicides. In recent months, five employees of the Peugeot Citroën factory in Mulhouse, in the east of France, have killed themselves.
ETUI-REHS news reportHazards webpages on work and suicide
Hazards news, 6 October 2007

Britain: Stress at work resources
TUC’s Northern Region has made resources from its workplace stress seminar available online. It says powerpoint presentations on stress priorities for the public sector and a series of case studies “will be of interest to all trade union safety reps”, together with a workplace inspection tool.
Stress resources
Hazards news, 29 September 2007

Britain: Government action on schools bullying
Teaching unions have welcomed action by the government to tackle bullying in England’s schools. The package of measures includes an online cyberbullying campaign, new guidance and a short film to help schools tackle bullies who use the internet or mobile phones to bully other children or abuse their teachers.
DCSF news releaseATL news releaseNASUWT news releaseNUT news release
Hazards news, 29 September 2007

Global: Psychosocial risks and work-related stress
The World Health Organisation’s global occupational health network (GOHNET) has in its latest newsletter turned its attention to psychosocial risks and work-related stress. The document concentrates on countries in economic transition and newly industrialised and developing countries, but has a great deal of useful information for anyone interested in these topics anywhere.
WHO occupational health webpages • Addressing psychosocial risks and work-related stress in countries in economic transition, in newly industrialized countries, and in developing countries, GOHNET Newsletter [pdf]
Hazards news, 22 September 2007

Britain: Stress is top threat to workers
Stress is still seen as the biggest threat to the welfare of UK workers, according to research by health benefits provider HSA. More than four in 10 senior human resources professionals surveyed singled out stress as the main health concern of the workforce.
Personnel Today
Hazards news, 8 September 2007

USA: Work 'the biggest sleep robber'
Time spent at work is the single most important lifestyle factor that impacts on sleep, a new study has reported. US researchers found the more hours you work the less sleep you get.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine news release • Mathias Basner and others. American Time Use Survey: Sleep time and its relationship to waking activities, Sleep, volume 30, issue 9, pages 1,085-1,095, 2007 [abstract]
Hazards news, 8 September 2007

Britain: Talks start on lean working
Long-running industrial action by civil service union PCS over the deskilling of work in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is being suspended following the department’s agreement to hold what the union termed “meaningful talks.” PCS says industrial action being taken by members in processing offices in the dispute over new ‘Lean’ working systems will be suspended from 28 August up to 19 September.
PCS news release
Hazards news, 1 September 2007

Britain: Civil servants suffer from overwork
Excessive workloads are forcing over half of full-time civil servants to work excessive hours just to keep up, a study has found, with many now working while sick. Research for the union PCS found 45.8 per cent of workers surveyed put in between 40 and 48 hours and concluded 1 in 20 workers was breaking the working time regulations – introduced as a health and safety measure - by working over 49 hours per week.
PCS news release
Hazards news, 25 August 2007

Britain: Workers protest at damaging hours changes
Factory workers held a demonstration outside their workplace on 31 July, angered by plans to introduce “family unfriendly” and potentially unsafe shift patterns. Supported by members of Unite’s TGWU section, workers from the Hilton Food Group plc in Huntingdon protested outside of the premises against the plans to extend their shifts by five hours per day, because they believe the move would have a negative impact on their family life and on workplace safety. Unite news releasePeterborough Today
Hazards news, 11 August 2007

Global: Stressful jobs cause depression
Having a high pressure job doubles the risk of depression and anxiety in young adults, UK researchers have warned. A study of 972 32-year-olds found 45 per cent of new cases of depression and anxiety were attributable to stressful work.
Maria Melchior and others. Work stress precipitates depression and anxiety in young, working women and men, Psychological Medicine, volume 37, issue 8, pages 1119-1129, 2007
Hazards news, 4 August 2007

France: Renault could face courts over suicides
Car maker Renault could face prosecution for the suicides of three workers at its technical centre in Paris, after the French Work Inspectorate submitted the findings of its investigation to the public prosecutor. Three employees at the company's state-of-the-art Technocentre killed themselves between October 2006 and February 2007.
Personnel Today
Hazards news, 28 July 2007

Britain: Cyber-bullying ‘rife’ in UK business
One in five UK workers has been bullied by email, new research has found. An independent online survey of over 1,000 workers for the Unite-Amicus led Dignity at Work Partnership found a fifth of respondents have been bullied by email in their current or previous jobs, and 6.2 per cent have been bullied via a text message.
Unite Amicus news release and Dignity at work project
Hazards news, 28 July 2007

France: Second car firm linked to suicides
A second French car firm has had oppressive management practices linked to worker suicides. CGT trade union representatives at the Mulhouse site of Peugeot-Citroën in eastern France have denounced management's practice of sending “guilt-inducing” letters to workers on sick leave, a practice the union says is unacceptable, particularly in the light of the suicide of four workers at the site over the last two months.
ETUI-REHS news report
Hazards news, 30 June 2007

Britain: Hospital reforms drove manager to suicide
The NHS has been urged to consider the impact of reforms on staff, after a despairing hospital manager Morag Wilson, 32, threw herself to her death from a motorway bridge. An inquest heard that Ms Wilson, head of dietetics at the hospital, had been facing huge pressure at work because of government reforms under the Agenda for Change review.
The GuardianHazards worked to death webpages
Hazards news, 30 June 2007

Britain: Schools action call on high tech harassment
Teaching union NASUWT is calling on the government to take urgent action on “cyber-bullying” of teaching and other school staff. The union pressed its case at a meeting of the DfES Cyber Bullying Task Group.
NASUWT news release
Hazards news, 30 June 2007

Australia: Another suicide linked to top firm
The family and friends of Leon Dousset, a line technician at Australian communications giant Telstra who killed himself, believe increasing performance targets and plans to install satellite tracking in his work van drove him to suicide. The allegations follow the suicide of Telstra call centre worker Sally Sandic in January.
Daily Telegraph
Hazards worked to death webpagesDetails of the Australian work suicides report
Hazards news, 23 June 2007

Britain: Harassed worker secures settlement
A building attendant who suffered from bullying and harassment at work has been awarded damages. Shaun Kernon, 38, will receive the undisclosed out-of-court settlement from his employer, Gateshead Council.
Thompsons Solicitors news release
Hazards news, 23 June 2007

Britain: College survey spots bad management
A union survey has found the majority of staff at a UK university are suffering stress as a result of management bullying. Lecturers’ union UCU undertook the survey after Leeds Metropolitan University’s human resources department refused to investigate the problem.
UCU news release
Hazards news, 23 June 2007

Britain: National stress conference, 10 November, Birmingham
The UK National Work Stress Network's 2007 conference will be on the theme of 'Enforcing the stress management standards.'
National Work Stress Network conference
Hazards news , 16 June 2007

France: Renault suicides cause concern
Three suicides in six months at a French car multinational’s research centre have highlighted concerns about the intolerable workplace stress facing overworked staff. The latest suicide at Renault’s Technocentre followed two deaths in autumn 2006. Vincent Neveu, the CGT union official covering the group’s engineering and white collar workers, said: “One figure probably sums up the situation for staff at this plant better than anything: the management itself has said that every employee ‘donates’ an average of 40 days’ leave entitlement each year to the company as they are unable to meet their targets in the time available.”
ITUC spotlight interviewHazards worked to death webpages
Hazards news, 9 June 2007

Britain: Staff mental illness 'increasing'
Mental illness is now the second largest reason for UK workers taking time off, a report suggests, headed only by musculoskeletal disorders. A study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found an increasing amount of sickness leave is due to depression or stress.
CIPD news releaseBBC News Online
Hazards news, 9 June 2007

Britain: Work stress ‘harms nurses' sex lives’
Most nurses suffer stress-related ill-health and almost half feel their sex lives are damaged by the emotional stress of their job, a poll suggests. Nursing Times magazine surveyed almost 2,000 nurses, and found 70 per cent said they suffered from physical or mental health problems linked to work-related stress, 44 per cent said their sex life was suffering as a result and a quarter said they had started drinking more.
BBC News Online
Hazards news, 2 June 2007

Global: Workers are damaged by job cuts
Workplace restructuring and job losses have a serious effect on the health and well-being of workers, a top academic has concluded. In a paper for Australia’s National Research Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, Professor Michael Quinlan said international evidence has linked downsizing and organisational restructuring to poorer mental health outcomes, bullying, and other forms of occupational violence and concluded that regulators, employers and unions have failed to respond adequately to “substantial if not compelling evidence that downsizing and organisational restructuring pose a serious risk the physical and mental health and wellbeing of workers.”
• Michael Quinlan. Organisational restructuring/ downsizing, OHS regulation and worker health and wellbeing, National Research Centre for OHS Regulation, Working Paper 52, 2007 [pdf] OHS Reps newsletter
Hazards news, 2 June 2007

Japan: Work stress payouts hit new record
A record 205 individuals qualified for workers' compensation insurance in the 2006 fiscal year after being diagnosed with depression and other psychological disorders brought about by work-related stress, Japan’s health ministry has said. The figure is 61 per cent up on the previous year.
International Herald TribuneHazards worked to death webpages
Hazards news, 26 May 2007

Britain: Safety officers back smarter working
Safety officers’ organisation IOSH has joined TUC, employers’ organisations, charities and firms in backing Work Wise UK, a five-year initiative aiming to bring about a fundamental change in working practices in the UK. IOSH said it is supporting Work Wise UK because of the occupational health benefits of the widespread adoption of these new smarter working practices.
IOSH news releaseWork Wise UK webpage

Britain: Ministers warned of cyberbullying distress
A five day cyberbullying reporting scheme introduced by teaching union NASUWT has identified how it is taking a serious toll on teachers’ self-esteem and even health.
NASUWT news release
Hazards news, 26 May 2007

Britain: Working flat out and feeling fed up
Millions of UK workers are likely to be suffering from depression and panic attacks because they are so stressed out by their jobs. This is one of the key findings of the latest 24-7 survey - a national research project conducted by the Work Life Balance Centre and the universities of Keele, Coventry and Wolverhampton.
Risks 302, 21 April 2007

Australia: Suicide blamed on job burnout
The family of a young Australian call centre worker wants to sue telecommunications giant Telstra for allegedly contributing to her suicide. Sally Sandic, 21, took her life in January this year after months of mounting pressure on staff at a Telstra facility.
Risks 301, 7 April 2007 • Hazards worked to death webpages and details of the Australian work suicides report

Britain: Journalists hacked off by stressful work
Stress is one of the biggest health problems journalists face, their union NUJ has said. The union says there is a long list of reasons their members are hacked off, including long hours and shift work, lack of control, lack of job satisfaction, insecurity, fear of violence, bullying, bad relations with other work colleagues, low pay, boredom, isolation and problems with the working environment such as noise, overcrowding and poor facilities.
Risks 297, 10 March 2007

Britain: “Rock solid” RMT action on working hours
Signallers working for Network Rail in Scotland have demonstrated their anger over the company's failure to implement their 35-hour week agreement with a “rock-solid” strike, rail union RMT has said.
Risks 297, 10 March 2007

Britain: Sleeping lorry driver jailed for crash deaths
A lorry driver has been jailed after four people died in a motorway crash caused when he fell asleep at the wheel. German Andreas Klassen, 51, had contravened EU regulations on hauliers' working hours and pleaded guilty to four charges of causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for five years.
Risks 296, 3 March 2007

Britain: Oh so slow progress on long hours
Unpaid overtime is on the decline, but progress is so slow that it will take until 2030 to end regular unpaid overtime of more than 10 hours every week, according to a TUC analysis of official statistics. The new research, published on 23 February to mark the TUC’s Work Your Proper Hours Day 2007, the day when people who do unpaid overtime would on average get paid if they did all their unpaid work at the start of the year.
Risks 295, 24 February 2007

Britain: Drivers fined for not taking rest breaks
Four bus drivers have been fined for working too many hours and not having enough rest – despite being denied training on working hours rules and just sticking to the rosters set by their employer. Gloucester Magistrates heard the four had been given a rota which meant they took between four and five hours less than the required 36 hours off work.
Risks 293, 10 February 2007

Britain: Deaths report warns of trawler fatigue risks
A fishing boat probably grounded and sank off Skye with the loss of two crew members because one of them fell asleep in the wheelhouse. A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report into the incident warned trawler crews of the dangers of tiredness, highlighting the importance of regular breaks.
Risks 292, 3 February 2007

Britain: Tribunal over-rules stress unfair dismissal decision
A worker who was fired after taking time off sick with work-related stress has seen an unfair dismissal ruling reversed at an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). This overturned an earlier unfair dismissal ruling against the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
Risks 292, 3 February 2007

Britain: End dscrimination against the missing million
Trade unions have called on MPs to support a private members’ bill designed to stop the exploitation of hundreds of thousands of agency workers. The Temporary Agency Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) bill seeks to give agency workers the same rights as full-time and directly employed staff on key issues including basic wages and sick and holiday pay.
Risks 292, 3 February 2007

Britain: Cyber-bullying affecting 1 in 6 teachers
More than one in every six teachers is being bullied by mobile phone, email or over the internet, a new survey on cyber-bullying has revealed. The Teacher Support Network and teaching union ATL say the problem is becoming so serious that the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) will need to ensure effective implementation of anti-bullying policies covering cyber-bullying.
Risks 291, 27 January 2007

Britain: ‘Management culture' causing college stress
High levels of stress are widespread amongst staff throughout further and higher education and staff widely believe that management - far from addressing the issue - are contributing to the problem. A survey of 5,000 staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the University and Colleges Union (UCU) and teaching union ATL found the main sources of work-related stress were clearly linked to targets and deadlines, long working hours, increased workloads and frequent changes of timetables or courses.
Risks 291, 27 January 2007

Global: Study highlights overwork risks at sea
Fatigue is endangering ships’ crews, vessels and the environment, researchers have concluded. A report from Cardiff University’s Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology presented at the 23 January meeting of the International Maritime Organisation’s training sub-committee in London, concludes there is overwhelming evidence of the existence of maritime fatigue, yet the industry has been reluctant to invest resources into monitoring or preventing it.
Risks 290, 20 January 2007

Global: Depression and drugs face job cut survivors
Workers who keep their jobs following a round of redundancies are almost as likely to end up on stress medication as their colleagues who are made redundant, according to new research. University College London researchers, writing in the February edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, said more help should be offered to “survivors”.
Risks 290, 20 January 2007

Britain: Unpaid hours cost workers £4,800 a year
Employees in the UK who do unpaid overtime do an average of seven hours six minutes extra work a week, and would take home an extra £4,800 a year if they were paid the average wage for those unpaid hours, according to new figures from TUC.
Risks 289, 13 January 2007 • Find out more about TUC's fourth Work Your Proper Hours Day, 23 February 2007

Britain: Teachers back NUT on workload action
Members of the teaching union NUT have responded positively to their union's campaign to tackle excessive workloads. A ballot of members showed “overwhelming majorities” in support of the NUT workload guidelines and possible school level action.
Risks 288, 23 December 2006

Britain: Bus drivers put industry on hours warning
Bus drivers have backed a call for a major cut in their driving hours. At the union TGWU’s passenger transport conference last month, the drivers supported a demand for the maximum driving time to be cut by an hour to four and a half hours in one continuous period.
Risks 286, 9 December 2006

Britain: Call to cut working hours at sea
Urgent action is needed to tackle excessive working hours at sea, maritime trade union Nautilus UK has said. The union was commenting after a survey of 1,800 seafarers found that almost half of respondents had a working week in excess of 85 hours; half of those who took part in the study also agreed their working hours were a danger to their personal safety.
Risks 286, 9 December 2006

Britain: Union exposes evidence of “doctored” DHL timesheets
Union officials have discovered drivers’ timesheets at distribution firm DHL Exel in Redditch have been deliberately changed by managers without the drivers' knowledge. TGWU said the changes were made in red ink by local managers to show the drivers as being on a "period of availability" instead of driving.
Risks 285, 2 December 2006

Britain: Increasing workloads stressing out lecturers
Disturbing levels of sleeplessness, anxiety and exhaustion are affecting lecturers in colleges and universities, according to a new union study. Provisional research findings released by college and lecturers’ union UCU reveal high levels of stress as workloads increase.
Risks 284, 25 November 2006

Britain: One in three journalists bullied at work
Almost one in three journalists complain of bullying in the workplace. The NUJ 2006 Membership Survey found in the newspaper sector, 40 per cent had been bullied, in TV and radio 21 per cent and a quarter in magazines and press and PR.
Risks 284, 25 November 2006

Britain: Support for Scotland’s seasonal shop shutdown
Retail union Usdaw has welcomed a report by MSPs backing a new bill that aims to stop large stores from opening their doors on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Thousands of Usdaw members have lobbied their MSPs to back the bill put forward by Labour backbencher Karen Whitefield.
Risks 283, 18 November 2006

Japan: Suzuki liable for overwork death
The family of a Suzuki Motor Corporation employee who killed himself in April 2002 due to work pressures and depression are to receive compensation for karoshi, death from overwork. A lawsuit brought by the family was settled on 30 October 2006 when it was determined Suzuki had not implemented appropriate policies to reduce employee workloads and so was liable.
Risks 282, 11 November 2006

Britain: Employers urged to tackle office bullies
Bullying is steadily increasing in UK workplaces, according to new TUC figures released on 7 November to coincide with National Ban Bullying at Work Day. Fifteen per cent of the union safety reps questioned in the latest TUC biennial survey of union safety reps said bullying was a major problem in their workplace, up from 12 per cent in 2004 and 10 per cent in 2002.
Risks 282, 11 November 2006

Europe: Union dismay as working time opt-out stays
Ministers from European Union (EU) countries have been unable to agree an end to the UK opt-out from Europe’s 48-hour working week ceiling. Commenting on the failure of the Social Affairs Council to resolve the issue, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “This was a missed opportunity to ensure that UK workers are properly protected against the dangers of overwork.”
Risks 282, 11 November 2006

Finland: Work strain causes burnout causes depression
Workers with high levels of job strain are at a massively increased risk of burnout, a study of Finnish workers has found. Researchers also found that job burnout was the most significant risk factor for depression among the study participants.
Risks 281, 4 November 2006

Britain: Union action on soaring lecturer stress
Lecturers’ union UCU is taking action to tackle workplace stress and nerve-fraying workloads, problems it says have made nearly half of lecturers ill. The new UCU-backed College and University Support Network (CUSN) will be the first dedicated national counselling telephone support line for university and college lecturers and their families.
Risks 281, 4 November 2006

Britain: Stress still the biggest problem at work
Stress is still the biggest problem facing UK workplaces, with excessive workloads, job cuts and rapid change the most common triggers for rising stress levels amongst employees, a TUC survey has found. Six out of 10 union safety reps (61 per cent) questioned by the TUC for its 2006 biennial safety reps’ survey reported stress to be their most pressing concern at work, up from the two previous surveys.
Risks 281, 4 November 2006

Britain: Union warns on sea fatigue dangers
Fatigue is now the number one health and safety issue in shipping - and regulators need to respond to the very real risks of a major disaster, maritime professionals’ union Nautilus UK has warned.
Risks 280, 28 October 2006

Britain: Humber pilots should be given a break
Marine pilots employed on the River Humber are not being given the breaks necessarily for safe working, their union has warned. TGWU is urging Associated British Ports (ABP) to remedy inadequate rest breaks and compensatory breaks for marine pilots working on the Humber, recognised as among the UK’s most dangerous waters.
Risks 280, 28 October 2006

Britain: Worn out doctors a road ‘accident danger’
One in six junior doctors has suffered a road accident in the past two years, many of whom were on the way home from hospital after long shift, according to new research. A survey by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) found 16 per cent of specialist medical registrars, doctors in training to become consultants, had been involved in a crash while commuting.
Risks 278, 14 October 2006

Global: Call centres campaign highlights stress
Unions around the world are taking part in an October call centres action month. The activities, coordinated by the UNI global union, aim to highlight the issues facing customer service workers, particularly stress.
Risks 277, 7 October 2006UNI Stop the BOSS campaign

Britain: More revenue staff join lean work-to-rule
A further 7,000 workers in Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have joined industrial action over the introduction of “lean” working methods. In a workplace ballot 85 per cent of PCS members in approximately 250 Distributed Processing Offices (DPOs) voted in favour of a ban on overtime and a work-to-rule in response to the introduction of the new ‘LEAN’ work system, which staff say has led to a culture of corporate bullying, deskilling and in some cases a risk of repetitive strain injury (RSI).
Risks 277, 7 October 2006

Britain: Is workplace stress a fad or just plain bad?
Workers are being asked about how modern work practices are affecting their health and well-being. Researchers conducting this year’s “24-7 survey” say they “hope employees in the UK will share their good and bad experiences in an attempt to discover more information about the true nature of modern working life”.
Risks 276, 30 September 2006

Britain: Depressing shifts to blame for disability
A North East factory worker who became depressed because of the wearing effect of alternating shifts was discriminated against by his employer, a tribunal has found. Craig Routledge, 41, became depressed after working alternate day and night shifts for TRW Systems in Washington.
Risks 276, 30 September 2006

Britain: Holiday joy beckons for 2m employees
Plans to increase holiday leave for around two million full time employees next year will bring huge benefits to workers and employers alike, the TUC has said. Its submission to the government's consultation on increasing the UK's statutory minimum annual leave says increasing the minimum amount of annual leave to 28 days for full-timers is a completely affordable move and the government should ignore employer claims that the proposed changes will prove too expensive.
Risks 275, 23 September 2006Hazards get-a-life webpages

USA: Air traffic controllers robbed of sleep
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has imposed new work rules on air traffic controllers, a move which unions say will leave a dwindling band of over-tired controllers monitoring US skies. The move was a “brazen, arrogant trampling of the collective bargaining process,” National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) president Pat Forrey said.
Risks 273, 9 September 2006

Britain: UK forced to tighten rules on work breaks
The TUC has welcomed a European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment this week that said the UK government is breaking the law by not forcing employers to give their staff rest breaks.
Risks 273, 9 September 2006

Britain: Working time rules to cover offshore workersOffshore unions have welcomed a commitment from employment relations minister Jim Fitzpatrick to extend working time rules to cover all offshore workers.
Risks 272, 2 September 2006

USA: Blood pressure rises along with work hours
Workers who clocked more than 51 hours at the office each week were 29 per cent more likely to have high blood pressure than those who worked 39 hours or less, a new study has found. The study also found lower grade jobs were also linked to raised blood pressure.
Risks 272, 2 September 2006

Britain: Work pressure drove professor to kill herself
A university lecturer killed herself after she became unable to cope with the pressures of work. An inquest at West Sussex Coroners Court into the death of Diana Winstanley, 45, heard she hanged herself at her home on 5 July after struggling in a new post and becoming depressed.
Risks 272, 2 September 2006

China: Apple admits excessive iPod hours
Apple Computer has said a report of labour conditions at its iPod plant in China found workers did more than 60 hours a week a third of the time. Staff making the high priced, massively popular mp3 players also worked more than six consecutive days 25 per cent of the time, with Apple admitting the hours were “excessive” and said its supplier would now be enforcing a “normal” 60-hour week.
Risks, 271, 26 August 2006

Britain: Violence at work linked to clinical depression
Employees subjected to real or threatened violence at work run a major risk of becoming clinically depressed or suffering other stress related disorders, new research has concluded. A study in the September 2006 issue in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found the magnitude of the risk was in direct proportion to the amount of workplace violence experienced.
Risks 269, 12 August 2006

Venezuela: Charlie Chaplin recruited for safety campaign
Charlie Chaplin's classic black-and-white movie Modern Times highlighted the exploitation and horrendous conditions faced by US factory workers during the Depression. Venezuela's leader Hugo Chavez believes it is as relevant today as it ever was – and the film has become a staple of safety training sessions as a result.
Risks 268, 5 August 2006

Britain: New HSE shiftwork guidance
Raising awareness of the health and safety risks of shiftwork and suggesting sensible measures employers, safety representatives and employees can use to reduce the negative impact of shiftwork is the aim of a new Health and Safety Executive publication, the safety watchdog says.
Risks 268, 5 August 2006

Britain: Bullied bank worker awarded £800,000
A City of London bank administrator who was subjected to what a judge described as “a deliberate and concerted campaign of bullying” by four women colleagues has been awarded £817,000 damages over the treatment she endured, which led to two nervous breakdowns.
Risks 268, 5 August 2006

Britain: Scots staff “back festive opening ban”
The majority of shopworkers in Scotland support a new bill which aims to ban large stores from opening on Christmas and New Year's Day, retail union Usdaw has said. The Christmas Day and New Year's Day (Scotland) Bill is currently being scrutinised by the Scottish Parliament's Justice 2 Committee.
Risks 268, 5 August 2006

Britain: Stressed out nurse awarded £140,000 payout
A member of health visitors’ union Amicus has been awarded £140,000 compensation after being exposed to a “health-endangering” workload. The High Court award was made after Melanie Garrod, 53, said she suffered two breakdowns when North Devon Primary Care Trust failed to bring in temporary staff to cover for colleagues on sickness or maternity leave.
Risks 268, 5 August 2006

Britain: Tax office turmoil after “robots” walk out
Civil service union PCS has said the “magnificent” support for a 24 hour strike should prove to management that workers will not accept a work reorganisation that would reduce them to “robots” at risk of repetitive strain injuries (RSI).
Risks 268, 5 August 2006

Britain: Amicus wins payout for bullied reverend
The Church of England has paid compensation running into tens of thousands of pounds to an evangelical clergyman who said he was abandoned by his bishop over a dispute with parishioners in the Algarve expatriate retirement belt. Clergy union Amicus said the Reverend Eric Britt faced a campaign of abuse and intimidation by one of his congregations in the Algarve and rather than supporting him, his bishop withdrew his licence.
Risks 267, 29 July 2006

Britain: Cyber-bullying rules “should protect staff”
Teaching union NASUWT says new government guidelines to help schools, parents and pupils tackle the issue of “cyber-bullying” should also protect teaching staff.
Risks 267, 29 July 2006

Britain: New guidance in managing shift work
UK safety watchdog HSE has produced a new guide on shift work and health and safety. The book draws on evidence available on the negative effect on workers' health from various shift patterns and gives advice on how these can be reduced and controlled.
Risks 266, 22 July 2006

Britain: Rotating shift work may increase heart risk
People who work rotating shifts may face a greater risk of developing heart disease than those who work fixed days or fixed nights only. The report, from Japan, showed that men who worked rotating shifts were 60 per cent more likely to have a disease of the heart and blood vessels than those who worked day shifts and were over twice as likely to die of heart disease.
Risks 266, 22 July 2006

Britain: Long hours may be worse for women
A University of Leeds, study has concluded long work hours may affect women worse than men. Research has found that women who work longer hours were more likely to smoke, take less exercise, and eat unhealthily, patterns not seen in men.
Risks 266, 22 July 2006

Britain: Landmark bullying case welcomed
A landmark decision by the House of Lords that will give extra protection to staff being bullied at work was welcomed by trade unions. In the case, brought by a health policy researcher working for Guys and St Thomas' NHS Trust, the court ruled that the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, originally introduced to deal with stalkers, also applies to harassment and bullying at work.
Risks 266, 22 July 2006

Britain: Union victory on Sunday opening
A campaign by retail union Usdaw to prevent an extension of Sunday trading hours has been successful. Trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling announced on 6 July that Sunday shopping hours for large stores will not be extended.
Risks 265, 15 July 2006

Britain: Chauffeurs driven into the ground
A new GMB survey of chauffeur drivers has found they are working dangerous long hours and are under constant pressure from well heeled bosses to work in excess of 70 hours per week.
Risks 265, 15 July 2006

Canada: Job stress raises blood pressure
Researchers have confirmed that chronic job stress can raise blood pressure, and that high job demands, tight deadlines and low support in the workplace appeared to be triggers, particularly in men.
Risks 264, 8 July 2006

Britain: Overloaded journalists set to strike
Overloaded journalists in South Yorkshire are to strike against poor pay and soaring workloads which are affecting workers’ health. A massive 85.7 per cent of NUJ members at Doncaster-based South Yorkshire Newspapers voted to strike after nine months of “futile” talks.
Risks 264, 8 July 2006

Britain: Post managers dangerously overloaded
Royal Mail postal managers are reaching breaking point as a result of increasing workloads and staff shortages and should not face further cutbacks, their union has warned.
Risks 264, 8 July 2006

Britain: Rail worker wins stress disability claim
A Heathrow Express worker fired after suffering stress-related illness as a result of a workplace ‘needlestick’ injury has won an unfair dismissal claim. An employment tribunal ruled RMT activist Sally Jenkins should be reinstated after Heathrow Express failed to consider reasonable adjustments to her role as a customer services representative to help her return to work from illness, in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act.
Risks 264, 8 July 2006

Britain: Suicide note blamed work pressure
An engineer who killed himself wrote in a suicide note saying “the pressure of work has turned my mind into a ticking time bomb,” an inquest has heard. Cardiff Coroner's Court heard how 28-year-old Wayne Williams hanged himself after a party to mark the end of a year-long contract in Singapore.
Risks 262, 24 June 2006

Britain: Company fined after fatigue crash death
A potato firm has been fined £30,000 after one of its workers crashed and died while driving home after a third consecutive shift of nearly 20 hours. The Produce Connection, of Chittering, Cambridgeshire, admitted failing to ensure the health of workers and the public.
Risks 262, 24 June 2006

Global: Union call for controls on precarious work
Working conditions are under constant threat as a result of the increasingly precarious nature of work, according to a report from the global metalworkers’ union federation IMF.
Risks 261, 17 June 2006

Britain: Staff still forced to work excessive hours
Too many employees are still being forced to work long hours without appropriate rest, despite the growing evidence that this is bad for health and safety, according to the safety professionals’ organisation IOSH.
Risks 261, 17 June 2006

Europe: EU working time law talks hit stalemate
Talks which could have resulted in the end of the UK’s opt out from the European Union's 48-hour working week have hit a stalemate
Risks 260, 10 June 2006

Britain: Senior judge treated for stress
Scotland's most senior judge is being treated for stress. Lord Hamilton is understood to be in the £1m Glasgow Priory Hospital, which has treated a number of high profile patients for conditions such as stress and alcohol or drug addiction.
Risks 259, 3 June 2006

Britain: Over 300 MPs back Save our Sundays campaign
Retail union Usdaw says more than 300 MPs are backing their case against any extension of Sunday trading hours. So far 273 MPs from across the political spectrum have signed an Early Day Motion, sponsored by Brian Jenkins MP, opposing any extension to the present six hour limit that large stores can open on Sundays.
Risks 259, 3 June 2006

Britain: Asda Wal-Mart faces dangerous workload attack
Asda Wal-Mart workers are being asked “to work themselves to death”, a union has charged. GMB says the company has a “job and finish” regime and high work targets that encourage unsafe work practices.
Risks 258, 27 May 2006

Britain: Union defends remains of the day of rest
Extending Sunday shopping hours would have a devastating impact on the family lives of Britain’s 3.1 million shopworkers, retail union Usdaw has told the new team of ministers at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Risks 256, 13 May 2006

Britain: TUC supports Work Wise UK
The TUC is backing Work Wise UK, a new three-year initiative to discourage overwork and encourage the widespread adoption of smarter working practices, such as flexible working, mobile working, remote working and working from home.
Work Wise UK website

Britain: Quitting head blames stress
NUT delegates have unanimously backed a motion urging the union to consider balloting for national strike action over workloads and calling for national union guidelines to curb excessive workloads.
Risks 253, 22 April 2006

Britain: Employer to blame for suicide
The firm that employed a man who killed himself years after suffering an injury at work is liable for his death, the Court of Appeal has ruled. Lord Justice Sedley said all the evidence suggested there was no other cause of Thomas Corr's suicide other than the injury he suffered at work, and he was previously a “rational man”.
Risks 251, 8 April 2006

Australia: Trucking firm fined for fatal fatigue smash
An Australian trucking company that admitted it placed lives at risk by allowing a fatigued driver to work has been fined Aus$130,000 (£53,000).
Risks 250, 1 April 2006

Britain: Euro MP starts campaign to cut long working hours
A report claiming Britain's long working hours lead to an unhealthy, unproductive workforce has been launched by Green MEP for London Jean Lambert. Mrs Lambert, vice-chair of the Green Party in the European Parliament and co-ordinator of the committee on employment and social affairs, called on the UK government to end the UK opt-out option from the working time directive’s 48 hour working week ceiling.
Risks 248, 18 March 2006

Britain: Government working on mental health problems
A new drive to help people with mental health problems get back into work has been launched by the government. It says the new guidance is for commissioners of services designed to better re-integrate into society people that have suffered with mental health problems.
Risks 247, 11 March 2006

Britain: £138,000 payout over stress case
A tax office worker whose job overload led to severe stress and depression is to receive £138,000 in compensation. PCS member Stephen Mellor, 58, from Malvern, took several months off from his post as a senior manager at a VAT office in Droitwich suffering from stress but was given even more stressful work on his return.
Risks 247, 11 March 2006

Britain: Union campaign staff working overtime
TUC’s Work Your Better Hours Day activities last week not only commanded the airwaves, they caught the imagination of union campaign staff.
Risks 246, 4 March 2006

Britain: Speed up means workers pay the Asda price
Supermarket giant ASDA hopes to up the workrate so high at its Wigan warehouse that workers could be shifting by hand over 10 tons each working day. The workers’ union, GMB, says the introduction of a radio frequency voice picking system would increase the daily “pick rate” from 1,100 to 1,400 boxes per person.
Risks 245, 25 February 2006

Britain: Nearly half the workforce wants fewer hours
A stunning 45 per cent of people at work want to work fewer hours, and more than two million people – 1 in 10 employees - would downshift by giving up pay for a better work-life balance, according to new figures from the TUC.
Risks 245, 25 February 2006

Britain: Suspended school worker kills himself
A school worker was found dead in a fume-filled car the day after being suspended from work, an inquest has heard. Support worker David Baines, 57, who worked at St Christopher's School, Wrexham, with children with special needs, did not know why he had been suspended and was worried he was being accused of abuse.
Risks 244, 18 February 2006

Britain: Are you a 'desk junkie'?
Are you over work or overworked? Using a new TUC online resource you can check out whether you have your working hours in check, or whether you are a bleary-eyed overworker. free time on 24 February.
Risks 244, 18 February 2006

Europe: EU backs new hours rules for working drivers
The European Parliament has approved a law designed to tighten up on the number of hours coach and lorry drivers spend behind the wheel. European drivers’ unions say the new provisions are welcome but do not go far enough.
Risks 243, 11 February 2006

Britain: Suicide verdict on bullied factory worker
A father of four killed himself after being bullied by his managers for two years, an inquest has heard. Anthony McDermott, 50, who left a letter explaining his factory floor ordeal before hanging himself, said he found a bullying campaign “soul destroying and demeaning”.
Risks 243, 11 February 2006

Britain: Put your foot down and your feet up
TUC says Work Your Proper Hours Day 2006 promises to be even bigger and better than last year. The event, on Friday 24 February, marks the day the average worker would start earning if they did all their free overtime for 2006 at the start of the year.
Risks 242, 4 February 2006

Britain: Work stress gets everywhere, study shows
Work as a librarian is more stressful than fighting fires or tackling criminals, new research suggests. Researchers examined perceived levels of stress and found one in three workers across occupations suffer from poor psychological health. They concluded all organisations need to take stress seriously.
Risks 240, 21 January 2006

Britain: Five million work a day a week unpaid
Nearly five million employees worked on average an extra day a week in unpaid overtime in 2005 according to a TUC analysis of official figures. If each employee worked all their unpaid overtime at the beginning of the year, the TUC estimates they would have worked for free and would not start to get paid until Friday 24 February 2006 – this year’s ‘Work Your Proper Hours Day'.
Risks 238, 7 January 2006

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