Stress the difference to avoid confusing terms

The article by Wolfgang Seidl, ‘Empower staff to tackle stress’ (Occupational Health, March 2009, page 9) appears to use the term ‘stress’ as meaning pressure or levels of pressure.

It states: “This isn’t to say that all stress is a bad thing”, and “a certain amount of good stress is essential”. There are additional comments in the article where the two terms ‘stress’ and ‘pressure’ are confused.

The statements about stress appear to be contradictory to the definition of stress published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The HSE recognised that using the terms ‘good stress’ and ‘bad stress’ would only cause confusion and could sabotage many OH professionals’ attempts to persuade management to address the problem by allowing them to argue that some ‘stress’ is good.

Occupational Health should promote a consistent message about stress and if possible avoid the confusion an article of this sort can create. To do otherwise is not in the interests of improving workplace health, which is I believe is the purpose of this magazine.

Alastair Taylor, In Equilibrium

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