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Last updated April 2020

This chapter explains the causes of work-related stress and how to meet your obligations to minimise the risk of stress in your workplace.

Under health and safety legislation in all jurisdictions, you have a duty to take practical steps to ensure that your systems of work and working environment are safe and without risks to health. Risks to health include psychological harm from work-related stress.

Definition: Work-Related Stress

Work-related stress is stress for which work is a significant contributing factor.
Caution: Prolonged and/or severe work-related stress can cause both psychological and physical injury.

Stress can affect different people in different ways. Personal factors can influence how stress affects each individual, including:

  • biological makeup, e.g. genetic predisposition towards depression or anxiety;
  • psychological profile, e.g. personality attributes such as self-confidence, attitude and mental resilience; and
  • social framework, e.g. social support networks and an ability to ‘switch off’ from the stress by engaging in other activities.
Important: Work-related stress can be costly for your business. It can negatively affect productivity due to:
- presenteeism, i.e. when a worker shows up to work while they are unwell or unable to perform their work; and
- absenteeism, i.e. when a worker repeatedly misses work.