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hoosier  
#1 Posted : 05 January 2018 17:48:09(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Over the xmas break I was looking at the official ONS stats for different types of safety problems, which shows serious injuries & fatalities far outweigh the numbe rof stress cases. Given the recent urgings to accomodate stress into the safety professionals dalily lives I was wondering where you would place your efforts. I have provided a link to the ONS graph of UK safety statistics

hoosier  
#2 Posted : 05 January 2018 17:58:34(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Link to ONS Stats

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6354319850747289600/

chris.packham  
#3 Posted : 05 January 2018 20:35:58(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris.packham

I always keep Disraeli's comment on statistics in mind. "There are lies, d...ed lies and statistics"

In my particular area of interest (occupational skin disease) here in the U.K. statistics show this as only a minor issue. Yet statistics across the EU show it as one of the most common causes of occupational ill health. In the majority of cases of occupational skin disease that I am called upon to help with only a tiny minority are ever reported to RIDDOR, so don't appear in the statistics. Contrast that with Germany, with its much more effective reporting system, where in one year occupational skin disease represented 34.7% of all recognised cases of occupational ill health. Overall EU statistics put it at between 25 and 30%. And even in Germany they will admit to a significant level of underreporting. 

I wonder how many cases of stress can actually be diagnosed with confidence as occupational (or have occupational conditions as a conributory cause) - and do they get reported as such? 

So I treat all these statistics with a large measure of caution. 

Chris

hoosier  
#4 Posted : 05 January 2018 23:20:01(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Hi Chris.

I hear what you say about statistics, but those quoted come from the HSE, actual Coroner Reports and actual GP Reports. They are the best we have. There is earlier work from the HSE that Serious Injuries are under reported by 40%, and minor injuries by 100%. This means the number of serious injuries is under-reported by the HSE every year (e.g. last years 70K is closer to 100K). This makes the cuurent rate of serious injures even more alarming! Deaths, regardless of type (e.g. workplace fatalities, Industrial Diseases, Suicides, non-work accidents/misadventure), are very hard to hide, so are probably very accurate. 

The GP Rpeorts for Occupational Stress over a three year period (2013-2015) can be obtained form the link below. From what I can see there are very few causes that would fall withn the safety professionals remit (e.g. Physical Hazards).

www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/tables/thorgp14.xlsx

I think one of hte things that has become very apparent from looking at this type of data, is how many gaps there are. For exmple, military deaths are excluded, along with other things such as Occupational Skin Disease and others. A strong case can be made for better data collection across the board, and brigning the data together into one place, instead in various 'silo's as is presently the case. The TUC and others have argued for this for a few years now, but it seems their pleas fall on deaf ears. 

Hoosier

​​​​​​​

johnc  
#5 Posted : 06 January 2018 17:05:04(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
johnc

Many GP's will not formally state their patients are suffering from stress or use words like anxiety because they know employers tend to take a very dim view and harm the job propects such as promotion or even job security. Remember the doctor's loyalty is to the patient not statistics.

Edited by user 06 January 2018 17:06:28(UTC)  | Reason: Spelling error

hoosier  
#6 Posted : 06 January 2018 21:41:40(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Hi John

To some degree you may be right, but how many GPs would you opine are 'falsely' giving people time off to deal with their stress? For some GPs to falsely record the stress absence under a different category, the stress would have to be ranked as chronic or severe. The current average number of 720 annual GP referalls for stress would have to be multiplied by 98 just to match the 70,000 serious injuries each year, let alone the thousands of deaths from industrial disease cases. So, although I agree some referalls maybe miscategorised, I cannot see it being systemic to the tune of 70,000!  It seems safe, therefore, to assume that the number of serious injuries and fatalities far outweigh chronic/severe stress cases in the UK.

Edited by user 06 January 2018 21:43:28(UTC)  | Reason: spelling

RayRapp  
#7 Posted : 07 January 2018 12:06:57(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Work related stress is much higher than the figures suggest in my opinion. I agree with the previous comment that GP's rarely identify stress but use the term anxiety or truama. I was once told stress is not a medically recognised term. 

The problem with stress or more to the point stressors, they are difficult to define and especially where stress has resulted from someone's private life as opposed to work. Sometimes work can be the cause orcompounds a pre-existing condition. 

Zyggy  
#8 Posted : 08 January 2018 12:30:09(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Zyggy

The definition of stress given by the HSE is that it is a reaction to events or experiences in someones home life, work life or a combination of both.

In a previous employment I managed a Welfare service & we tried to establish the causes of stress to our employees. The figures for home v work were almost identical with a small minority being a bit of both.

The GP's Sick/Fit notes very rarely stated stress, mostly at the request of the employee; but many stated "nervous debility".

With the home related stress, we had a "signposting" service which gave employees links to various organisations which could help with financial; relationship, etc. situations.

For the work-related ones, these were the real challenges as the person who should deal with the situation, i.e. line manager, was often the cause of the stress!

For both situations we offered a confidential professional counselling service which even the "management" were not aware if somebody was attending & I managed the budget to fund this so that individuals could not be identified.

johnc  
#9 Posted : 08 January 2018 13:14:13(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
johnc

Stress has been said to cause heart disease so if the person subsequently dies then the cause of death will state heart disease. There will be no mention of stress on the death certificate so it will not be included in any statistics. Having dealt with work related stress cases it is very debilitating to the person but can and often does have a serious impact on the organisation as the result of bad decision making by the stressed person. When looking at statistics it is important to understand how the data is collected and its origin.
hoosier  
#10 Posted : 08 January 2018 14:15:51(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Hi John

Meta-analytic studies by epidemiologists published in the BMJ and other journals, involving millions of people over a large number of years show there is no clear statistically significant relationships between workplace stress and actual outcomes such as cancer (Heikkilä,et al, 2013), diabetes (Sui, 2016), coronary heart disease (Virtanen, 2103) or sickness absenteeism (Darr & Johns, 2008). Conversely, symptoms of psychological stress are over reported in nearly all “stress” surveys (Goodwin et al.,,2103).

I agree it is important to understand how data is collected, its origin and how accurate it is. As I said earlier, there are gaps in our present knowledge of H& S outcomes, how the stats are collected, and how accurate they are, and how they are reported. Certainly something for the powers that be to look at (e.g. IOSH, ONS, HSE, etc). 

Hsquared14  
#11 Posted : 08 January 2018 14:21:38(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Hsquared14

I think it all depends on how the data are collected and what your definitions are.  Stress tends to be a hidden issue and that is where the danger lies, there isn't any blood and gore to alert anyone to there being a problem.   You also have to consider recovery times and support for the recovery process and then you will see that in cost terms stress probably outweighs every other cause of lost time in the workplace.

hoosier  
#12 Posted : 08 January 2018 14:30:59(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Hi Zyggy

Intersting perspective. How many stress cases were there in your previous employment compared to people being physically hurt (i.e. minor, serious and deaths) and what industry was it in? 

Without doubt, we all experience stress at some times in our life - that is the nature of the beast. The issue is how severe and debilitating it is, compared to how many people we expose to workplace injuries by our collective failure to control physical risk in the workplace.

I would argue the outcome stats show we are pretty complacent when it comes to controlling potential injuries. Industrial diseases are rife (thousands die of them every year), tens of thousands of people are being hurt or maimed (600 odd thousand last year), and we still manage to allow far too many fatalities to occur (average of 142 per year over last 5 years). How many of the 70,000 serious injuries could have been fatalities is rarely discussed or highlighted.  

According to the ILO, worldwide 150 workers are injured every 15 seconds. To me, stopping these seems to be much more important than dealing with workplace stress, particularly as 95% of workplace stress problems are created by HR, and should be dealt with by them. The safety professions primary role has to be to reduce and eliminate accidents

hoosier  
#13 Posted : 08 January 2018 14:41:42(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
hoosier

Hi Hsquared14

Recovery times and costs for serious injuries are just as severe, if not more. My broken arm led to 18 months off work with numerous hospital costs, etc. It took 5 years to reconstruct my brothers jaw after it was shattered by a bar that hit him after welds sprung on the back of a tipper truck, (he had reported the truck numerous times but was ignored). That is just a couple of examples. What about the long-term costs of someone who loses a limb?

achrn  
#14 Posted : 09 January 2018 12:23:53(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
achrn

Originally Posted by: hoosier Go to Quoted Post

Intersting perspective. How many stress cases were there in your previous employment compared to people being physically hurt (i.e. minor, serious and deaths) and what industry was it in? 

Not specifically stress, but we adopted 'mental health first aid' last year, and now have nearly a year of data.  We have (roughly) the same number of mental health first aiders as physical first aiders, and every location has at least one of each.  We are an office-based organisation, with seven offices across England and Scotland

For obvious reasons we don't collect or disseminate detailed information about the 'consultations', but the mental health first aiders log when they are consulted on mental health matters.  We have slightly (about 10%) more incidents of mental health first aiders doing something than we do of physical first aiders doing something.  We have not had any RIDDOR incidents in that period - all the physical incidents in that period were minor.

thanks 1 user thanked achrn for this useful post.
Kate on 09/01/2018(UTC)
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