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Work-related stress a 'growing epidemic', says TUC

By Alan Jones, Press Association Industrial Correspondent

A union has warned work-related stress is a "growing epidemic" after new figures showed an increase in working days lost because of the problem.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported 30.7 million working days were lost in the 2017-18 financial year due to work-related illness and workplace injury.

The TUC said 15.4 million days were due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression, an increase of almost three million on the previous year.

General secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Work-related stress is a growing epidemic. It's time employers and the Government took it more seriously.

"Warm words are not going to fix this problem. Managers need to do far more to reduce the causes of stress and support employees struggling to cope.

"This means tackling issues like excessive workloads and bullying in the office. Toxic workplaces are bad for staff and productivity."

The HSE said 1.4 million workers suffered from work-related ill health in the latest period and around 550,000 from non-fatal injuries.

There were 144 fatal injuries at work and almost 500 prosecutions resulting in a conviction.

The HSE said workplace injury and new cases of ill health cost the country £15 billion a year.

Construction and agriculture remain the industries in which workers are most likely to be injured.

HSE chairman Martin Temple said: "These figures should serve as a reminder to us of the importance to manage risk and undertake good health and safety practice in the workplace.

"Great Britain's health and safety record is something we should all be proud of but there is still much to be done to ensure that every worker goes home at the end of their working day safe and healthy."

Dr Carole Easton, chief executive of Young Women's Trust, said: "Many young people, especially young women, are facing huge pressures in the workplace and mental health concerns are skyrocketing.

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

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

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