Work Related Stress

What is work related stress??

“Work demands are one of the most common sources of work-related stress. While workers need challenging tasks to maintain their interest and motivation, and to develop new skills, it is important that demands do not exceed their ability to cope.”

Stress can occur when the physical, mental and emotional reactions of an individual who perceives that their work demands exceed their abilities and/or their resources to do the work. It occurs when people perceive they are not coping in situations where it is important to them they cope.

Common effects of work-related stress on people;

  • difficulty in decision making, forgetfulness
  • Irritability, excess worrying, feeling of worthlessness, defensiveness, anger, mood swings
  • Diminished performance, withdrawal behaviors, impulsive behaviors, increase in alcohol and nicotine consumption
  • Depression, anxiety, suicide
  • Cardio vascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, immune deficiency, gastrointestinal disorders

Effects on business-

  • Productivity down (5.9 billion dollars per annum)
  • Increased absenteeism and presenteeism ( 8-10 billion dollars per annum)
  • Increased staff turnover ( add costs of re-staffing and training)

Who’s responsibility is work-related stress?

In the Work Health and Safety Act 2001 it states “The person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) has a primary duty of care to ensure workers and others are not exposed to a risk to their health and safety.”

We need to understand ‘health’ means the employee’s physical and psychological well being.

Work-related stress is considered a management issue. It is important for employers to recognise work-related stress as a significant health and safety issue.

A company can and should take the following steps to ensure that employees are not subjected to unnecessary stress, including:

  • Ensure a safe working environment.
  • Make sure that everyone is properly trained for their job.
  • De-stigmatise work-related stress by openly recognising it as a genuine problem.
  • Discuss issues and grievances with employees, and take appropriate action when possible.
  • Devise a stress management policy in consultation with the employees.
  • Encourage an environment where employees have more say over their duties, promotional prospects and safety.
  • Engage a Human Resources Manager in-house or outsourced.
  • Cut down on the need for overtime by reorganising duties or employing extra staff.
  • Take into account the personal lives of employees and recognise that the demands of home will sometimes clash with the demands of work.
  • Seek advice from health professionals, if necessary
  • Set up and Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

By supporting your workers immediately and professionally you ensure the financial and social impact to your business is minimized.

At On Track our goal is to ‘bridge the gap’ by working with employers to manage their responsibilities in relation to reducing this issue within their organisations by developing and implementing appropriate intervention programs and management systems.

To find out more call us on 1300 854 550 or email at


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