ILO urges lifting of workplace stress

Helen Shok Jok, Abuja

The International Labour Organisation ILO, says more data and analysis is needed to fully quantify the financial costs of workplace stress.

In a statement to mark the 2016 World Day for Safety and Health observed 28th of April every year, the Director General of the ILO, Mr Guy Ryder,  said it was  already “abundantly clear” that the burden was considerable. 

This World Day for Safety and Health focuses on stress on the health and wellbeing of workers worldwide in their working environment.

Target 8 of Goal 8 of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for “safe and secure working environments for all workers.”

Mr Ryder believes that securing safe workplaces extends beyond the protection of workers’ physical safety to their mental and psychological well-being.

Work-related stress according to the ILO Chief Executive, affects workers in all professions in developed and developing countries alike.

“It can gravely harm not only workers’ health but also, and all too often, the wellbeing of their families. “Globalization and technological change have transformed work and employment patterns in ways that sometimes contribute to work-related stress. High unemployment levels, particularly in the absence of adequate social protection measures can also have undesirable consequences for the mental health of workers.“Enterprises are not spared and they face the consequences of work-related stress on their overall performance with increased absenteeism, presenteeism and staff turnover, and difficult labour relations”, Ryder explained.

ILO report
A recent study cited in the ILO report, Workplace stress: a collective challenge, issued to mark the day, indicates that more than 40 million people are affected by work-related stress within the EU and that the estimated cost of work-related depression is €617 billion a year.

“While much still needs to be done to reduce stress at work, we can say that in recent years there have been welcome developments in understanding the issue. Awareness has increased and in most countries policymakers, social partners and professional networks are becoming more involved in the design of legislation, policy, strategies and tools for the assessment and management of work-related stress.

It is clear that the protection of workers’ mental health must focus on preventive strategies.   Assessing and managing psychosocial risks at their origin will help craft the collective and individual measures needed to improve the quality of working life for women and men” the ILO Director General stressed.

The ILO emphasized that its committed to working with governments, workers and employers around the globe to design and implement effective national, regional and enterprise level policies to prevent and minimize work-related stress.

Confidence O.