Long-term job insecurity leads to stress

The need for a new approach to occupational safety, health and environmental
issues was highlighted in a recent television phone-in about stress.

During the course of the discussion, a caller rang to complain that too much
emphasis was being placed upon management and white-collar workers. People
"on the shop-floor" suffer from stress too, she said, adding that
people’s lives in general were more stressful than ever before.

One of the studio guests, a spokesperson from the Institute of Directors,
seized upon the woman’s final comments to debunk the whole notion of workplace
stress.

Now is not the time to explore the rights and wrongs of the stress debate.
However, the IoD spokesperson’s comments did seem to suggest that a clear
division could be drawn between work and the home.

But how viable is this position? It seems to take no account of the dramatic
changes that have taken place in the workplace over the past 25 years and are
still continuing.

Today, a typical workplace comprises a mix of small contractors,
sub-contractors and employees of the parent company, making it more difficult
to identify and tackle health and safety issues. More organisations than ever
are relying on agency workers, casual labourers, homeworkers and volunteers,
with terms such as "flexible workforce", "downsizing",
"productivity gains" and "payment by performance" all
commonplace. Moreover, for many, job security has been replaced by long-term
insecurity’.

Those of us who work in occupational safety and health are still trying to
come to terms with the effects of these changes, and it seems that many
business people are too. In response to this, Iosh has organised a major
safety, health and environment conference on 5-6 April.

The impact of change on organisations is at the top on the agenda, with
issues such as operating in a global market, public interest in health and
safety, and the impact of new technologies considered during the two-day
programme.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health represents 25,000
safety and health professionals in industry, commerce and the public sector.
For conference details contact Penny Richards on 0207-453 5491 or access www.ibcglobal.com/managedevents/Iosh

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