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News » Workers expect to be more stressed

Maltese employees think that the workplace will become more stressful over the next five years, according to the results of an EU-wide health and safety survey.

Seventy-four per cent of respondents said they were expecting higher levels of stress at their workplace in the coming five years. Just under half – 46 per cent – said stress would “increase a lot”, the study, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work, found.

Held last November among 1,000 Maltese, the study established that work-related stress had become one of the main concerns of health and safety authorities in the EU.

This was considered to be causing a huge cost in terms of human distress and economic performance.

The matter is of course not restricted to Malta and the survey shows that almost 80 per cent of those interviewed were expecting stress levels at work to rise.

Coupled with other forms of stress, related to the way people were living to juggle their family-work obligations, the EU’s health authorities said stress should start being treated as a major priority.

According to the survey, Maltese respondents felt they were well informed about health and safety at their workplace with 63 per cent saying they were well aware of the risks at work. Twenty-seven per cent said they were not.

The majority were also confident that managers and supervisors had become more conscious about health and safety over the past years. In fact, 72 per cent of Maltese respondents said they were confident that they would receive a positive response if they spoke about a health and safety problem at the workplace.

Conscious that health and safety contributed towards better productivity, 89 per cent of respondents said that safer workplaces would help Malta become more competitive.

Malta has made several efforts over the past years to improve health and safety practices and to instil a new culture among employers and employees.

Through the sustained efforts of the Occupational Health and Safety Authority, set up in 2000, awareness on the need to have suitable and adequate levels of protection at all workplaces increased substantially.

This came across in the survey, which showed that those who were much more aware of health and safety regulations at work had increased to 26 per cent in 2011from 14 per cent in 2009.

On a general level, the EU survey showed that eight in 10 of the working population across Europe thought the number of people suffering from job-related stress over the next five years would increase (80 per cent), with as many as 52 per cent predicting this will “increase a lot”.

This echoed findings of another recent survey on new and emerging work-place risks conducted by EU-OHSA. This found that 79 per cent of managers believed stress was an issue in their companies, making stress at work as important as workplace accidents for companies.

The survey also found that the large majority of Europeans (86 per cent) agreed that adhering to good occupational safety and health practices was necessary for a country’s economic competitiveness, with 56 per cent strongly agreeing.

 

Source: The Time of Malta

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