Definition / Common Sources of Stress
Stress is the reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed upon them.
It becomes a problem when they worry that they can’t cope. /
  • Financial worries or concerns about job security
  • Leaner workforces and greater workloads
  • Job burnout
  • Juggling demands of work and family
  • Caring for a sick loved one or aging parent
  • Troubled relationships

How Stress Affects Us at Work / Physiological effects
  • Trouble meeting deadlines
  • Poor concentration
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Easily irritated
  • Relationship problems with colleagues
  • Easily overwhelmed by minor stressors
  • Fatigue
  • More backaches, headaches, colds and flus
  • More sick days
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased sweating
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Aching neck and shoulders
  • Skin rashes
  • Lowered resistance to infection

Behavioural effects: / Emotional signs of stress:
  • Increased anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Increase alcohol intake
  • Increased smoking
  • Erratic sleep patterns
  • Poor concentration
  • Feeling of inability to cope with everyday tasks
  • Mood swings/irritability
  • Cynicism
  • Anxiety, nervousness, apprehension
  • Loss of confidence
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Panic attacks

HSE’s 7 Workplace Stressors
  • The culture of the workplace including communication, if there is a blame culture and working excessive hours
  • The demandsof the job ~ is the work boring or repetitive, the amount of training required and the amount of work.
  • The amount of control the employee has over their work.
  • Relationships at work can give rise to stress especially if relationships are poor or involve bullying and harassment.
  • Change and fears about job security can lead to stress
  • Confusion about employee’s role & what their objectives are.
  • Lack of support from managers can increase the employee’s stress levels, especially if the employee is trying to balance the demands of work with domestic pressures

Stress Preventive Measures
  • The organisation:
  • introducing and implementing policies to cover harassment, discrimination, violence and the investigation of complaints
  • ensuring adequate levels of supervision with supervisors trained to recognise the symptoms of stress so that ameliorative action can be taken or, in extreme cases, so that those affected might be offered counselling
  • drawing up clear job descriptions and taking steps to match individuals to the descriptions;
  • providing good levels of communication, seeking the views of employees and involving them in decisions;
  • The job
  • reductions in noise levels
  • provision of adequate levels of lighting
  • the provision of adequate welfare facilities
  • the maintenance of a high standard of housekeeping
  • The individual
  • work/life balance such as discouraging the working of excessively long hours;
  • introducing job rotation and increasing work variety;

Violence and Abuse at Work
Causes of Violence and Abuse / Workers Who Are at Risk
  • Possible injury from dissatisfied customers, clients, claimants etc.
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Mental abuse.
  • Discrimination.
  • Harassment.
  • Bullying.
  • Those giving a service
  • Those caring for others
  • Those in education
  • Staff involved in cash transactions
  • Those involved in delivery/collection activities
  • People controlling activities
  • People representing authority
  • Construction site managers/supervisors

Possible Control Measures
  • No lone working so staff can support each other in difficult situations.
  • Training employee’s in conflict management techniques.
  • Personal Protective Equipment e.g. stab vests, helmets with face shields and neck protection etc.
  • Security locks to control numbers of people entering a specific area (e.g. high end jewellery shops).
  • Security staff posted at entrances to at risk areas (A&E Departments, Social Security Offices etc.).
  • CCTV with appropriate signage.
  • Counter mounted alarm call buttons (alerts support staff – often silent to situational area).
  • Personal Alarms (high level sounder which brings attentions from those in the local area).
  • Good levels of lighting in all areas, no darks areas for people to hide in.
  • High/wide counters to make it difficult to reach the worker.
  • Security screens between staff and customer.