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Government accused of “Words but no Action” on stress law


The government's workplace safety watchdog stands accused of a "fainthearted" response to occupational stress. The Health and Safety Commission has opted for a National Stress Awareness Day PR stunt, ignoring overwhelming support for the introduction of a new stress law to protect workers from the UK's top workplace hazard, according to the TUC backed 'Hazards' magazine.

The decision not to introduce a binding stress law was condemned in the latest issue of the health and safety journal Hazards, with chair person Bill Callaghan criticised at a "Faintheart".

"A formal consultation found overwhelming support for a stress law to protect workers, but all we got was a stress release," said Hazards editor Rory O'Neill.

"A formal consultation exercise found overwhelming support for legal controls on stress and the results were passed to the HSE:

The results passed to the HSE

  • Does more need to be done to tackle stress?

    • Yes 98 per cent
    • No 1.6 per cent
  • Do you think stress at work is a health, safety and welfare issue?

    • Yes 94.4 per cent
    • No 4 per cent
  • Would an Approved Code of Practice (AcoP) or stronger action be worthwhile?

    • Yes 78 per cent
    • No 21 per cent

But the Health and Safety Commission bottled it, and has opted for a PR stunt instead."

"Previous experience with hazards including noise, visual display units and manual handling show many employers only act on health and safety hazards at work when compelled to by law."

"If the Health and Safety Commission intends to ignore the findings of its own consultation exercises, it should stop wasting our time. A bit more enforcement, a bit more legal protection and a bit less lip service would go a long way," said Rory O'Neill.

See yesterday's HSE comments about National Stress Awareness Day

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