UK: Stress Among Workers Hits 17-Year High

Levels of stress and mental health problems among UK workers are at a 17-year high, according to the latest injury and ill health statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive.

Cases of work-related stress, depression, or anxiety rose by 13% to 1,800 per 100,000 workers between April 2017 and April 2018, for a total of 44% of all work-related health conditions. In the previous year, mental health became the most common work-related illness for the first time, overtaking musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

The amount of working days lost to stress, depression, and anxiety increased by 23% to 15.4 million—an average of 25.8 days per case.

Although the number of overall stress cases increased in 2017–18, the number of new cases remained similar to 2017–18, suggesting that workers dealing with mental illness or stress are taking more time to recover.

Higher rates of stress and mental health problems were observed in occupations such as nursing, teaching, and welfare, while tradesmen and plant/machinery operators had lower rates. Women aged 25–54 also experienced higher levels of work-related stress, anxiety, and depression then men.

MSDs accounted for 35% of all work-related health conditions in 2017–18, or 469,000 instances. In 2016–17, there were 507,000 cases, and 539,000 in 2015–16. The number of work-related MSDs has continued to fall since 2000.

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