Friday 2 December 2016

Warning for bosses - as stress is now top health hazard in workplace

Published 13/05/2016 | 02:30

Meryl Streep as boss from hell Miranda Priestly in the film 'The Devil Wears Prada' (Picture: Twentieth Century Fox)
Meryl Streep as boss from hell Miranda Priestly in the film 'The Devil Wears Prada' (Picture: Twentieth Century Fox)

Stress has now overtaken back pain as the number one health hazard in the workplace - leaving employees in a minefield that can trigger absenteeism and a loss of productivity.

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Dr John Gallagher, a specialist in occupational medicine, said he had seen stress, anxiety and depression escalate in the past 10 to 15 years, generated by problems such as work overload.

"Employers need to find out if it is work-related and what is causing it. No­body is imm­une to it, managers included.

"There is little point in advising counselling if the main issue is not addressed. We should be careful about medicalising stress. The source must be found and dealt with."

Managers who are like the "boss from hell", as played by Meryl Streep in the film 'The Devil Wears Prada', can have a detrimental effect.

The knock-on effect is that the wrong workplace dynamics can lead to needless absenteeism, loss of morale and falling profits.

Dr Gallagher addressed the Health and Safety Review conference yesterday.

He is head of Cognate Health National OHP Network, which provides occupational health physicians to employers across the country.

Dr Gallagher said he advises stressed employees of the importance of taking exercise for their wellbeing.

"More employers are now contracting in wellness and screening programmes. They know they must go beyond just following health and safety legislation.

"Lifestyle diseases like obesity are making more impact. Sitting for hours is not healthy.

"I see more workplaces conducting stand-up meetings. They are beneficial and also efficient," he added.

Irish Independent

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