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ILO focuses on stress for World Day for Safety and Health at Work

work stress poster

Photo: International Labour Organization

Geneva – “Workplace Stress: A Collective Challenge” is the theme of this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work, set to take place April 28.

To mark the day, the International Labor Organization has released a report that addresses the effects of workplace stress, ways for preventing and managing hazards and risks, and “global trends.” The report contends that work-related stress is a global issue that has an impact on all professions and workers. “Psychosocial hazards” are workplace factors that can result in stress and can include interactions, conditions and culture that affect worker performance, health and job satisfaction.

Stress can lead to disorders such as anxiety, exhaustion and cardiovascular disease, while factors such as high job demands, lack of support and conflict with co-workers are connected to higher risk of workplace injury, according to research. Greater competition, loftier expectations and longer hours are making workplaces more stressful, ILO adds. Effects of recession – including layoffs, unemployment and fewer job opportunities – also can affect worker health.

An effective program to prevent workplace stress includes “proper identification of psychosocial risks and assessment of work performance and personal problems resulting from stress,” the report states. Workers should be empowered to share concern about circumstances that cause stress.

“Employers should be aware of the negative effects of the psychosocial hazards that may affect workers as a result of overwork and lack of control over their tasks, with the consequences of work-related stress and related coping behaviors and health outcomes,” the report notes.

ILO has celebrated World Day for Safety and Health at Work (which coincides with Workers Memorial Day) every year since 2003. The campaign is intended to promote prevention of workplace incidents, injuries and fatalities.

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