A little bit of stress, or rather pressure, can be good occasionally by motivating a person to do a lot at speed which may improve productivity and performance. 

The release of adrenaline and other chemicals within the body in response to a specific threat or danger, commonly called “Flight or Fight”, may be essential to survive or deal with a crisis, and regularly occurs whilst working for the Armed Forces, Police, Fire, Ambulance, Hospital and Prison services as well as a range of civilian occupations. 

If a person believes they have the ability and resources to cope with the demands placed on them, this is positive pressure not stress. 


Stress is defined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as "the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them”. 

It is never good.


Stress is the most common cause of long-term absence for both manual and non-manual employees. (CIPD/Simply Health Annual Survey on Absence Management for 2012.) 

Among non-manual employees it is the 2nd most common cause of    short-term absence , after minor illness such as colds/flu, stomach upsets, headaches/migraine etc.

It is the 4th most common cause of short-term absence in manual work after minor illness, musculoskeletal injuries and back pain.  




Being placed under continual physical, emotional or mental pressure results in a disturbed physiological state. If not dealt with quickly and appropriately this leads to a significant and long-term deterioration in health with an            increased risk of various conditions including insomnia, ulcers, anxiety, depression and high blood pressure.

There are risks of strokes, aneurysms, heart attacks, death or suicide.


  • Finance,
  • Workload,
  • Management style or culture,
  • Personal or family relationships,
  • Work relationships; and 
  • Change/restructuring.
 What can you do?

Employers and employees have a duty of care to try and recognise and deal with the symptoms of stress. 

If you have 5 or more employees, a workplace risk assessment about stress-related illness must be completed and measures taken to control the risk.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued Stress Management Standards covering 6 primary sources of stress at work. There is no legal requirement to adhere to these standards though it is advisable to comply with the standards and enhance them as appropriate.

What do we believe?

We believe any or all of the reasons for stress either at home or work impact on working life, and so we actively encourage employers to tackle stress holistically.


What do we do?

We will, either directly or through one of our associates,:-

  • Review existing policies and procedures, to ensure legal compliance, and if there are none introduce them.
  • Encourage you to adopt or adhere to the HSE Stress Management Standards and enhance them through best practice.
  • Conduct a stress risk audit.
  • Help you complete any risk assessments due.
  • Analyse the levels and causes of stress in your workplace, and the impact on individuals and teams.
  • Advise on the impact of future legislation, case law, or organisational change or policy on workplace stress.
  • Produce approved stress action plans.
  • Consult safety representatives (employee or trade union).
  • Assist in briefing directors, managers, and employees.
  • Liaison with other interested parties and external bodies. 
  • Train and raise awareness in managing stress at work.
  • Help managers and employees identify stress symptoms.
  • Support and help manage people suffering from stress.
  • Organise stress counselling and other therapies.
  • Recommend general courses in awareness and self-management of stress.
  • Help reduce costs of stress, absence and presenteeism.

As an Associate Member of the International Stress Management Association UK

I am well-placed to get the right expertise needed and be at the forefront of developments with regards to stress.

Subpages (1): Reasons for Stress