Work Related Stress

Work related stress is now the most common cause of long-term sick leave in the UK.

The recent survey was published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the healthcare provider SimplyHealth. The findings show stress has become the single-most common cause for long-term absence, overtaking other ailments such as repetitive strain syndrome and acute medical conditions.

This is even true amongst manual workers, where work related stress has now surpassed absence caused by musculo-skeletal problems.

This is the first time stress has become the foremost cause of sick leave since the survey was introduced 12 years ago. The increase is being attributed to concerns over job losses, with many worried about their job security in an uncertain labour market. In particular, employees in the public sector feel threatened by the rise in redundancies, which in turn is having an affect on their mental health.

What Is Work Related Stress?

So what exactly is work related stress? According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), work related stress can be defined as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work.”

Thus stress is the condition someone will experience when work demands exceed their capacity and capability to cope. It can also work the other way round, where a person has too few demands, leaving him/her to feel bored and undervalued.

If such stress continues for a prolonged period, a person may begin to develop mental and/or physical symptoms. These can change from case to case, but may include some of the following:-

  • Feelings of negativity and despondency;
  • Mood swings with increased emotional reactions;
  • Loss of motivation;
  • Changes in eating habits and sleep patterns;
  • Poor concentration levels;
  • Feeling confused and indecisive;
  • Poor attendance.

Work Related Stress – Is Your Employer Responsible?

Employers have a duty to meet their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), something which can be defined as: “the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.”

CSR therefore entails a wide range of factors. Here, however, we are especially interested in an employer’s duty to improve “the quality of life of the workforce”. This means that an employer has a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of their staff, which includes preventing work related stress. Consequently it is important that all employers take the following action:-

  • Gain a full understanding of work related stress;
  • Take steps to tackle work related stress;
  • Regularly review initiatives to combat work related stress;
  • Support health and safety managers and line managers in dealing with work related stress;
  • To listen to employees concerned about work related stress, supporting them appropriately.

If an employer fails to take these measures, he/she may well have breached their Corporate Social Responsibility. If one of their employees subsequently suffers from work related stress, it could be possible for a personal injury claim to ensue.

Speak To A Solicitor

If you think you have suffered an injury due to work related stress, you need to speak to a legal expert. This is a complex and fast-moving area of the law, so it is best to seek advice from a work accident solicitor. After the discussing the details of your case, a solicitor will be able to suggest what action, if any, you can take

Work related stress compensation claim experts

If you suffer from work related stress and believe that your employer was to blame, the Work Accident Solicitors could advise you on making a compensation claim.

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