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Stress remains top office hazard

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Stress and overwork have topped the list of office hazards for the fourth year in a row.

More than half of all businesses (60%) cited stress as the most common problem in theworkplace, according to new research from the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

Stress and overwork were cited as the biggest concern in 10 out of 14 industries polled, with the highest instances seen in central government (81%), education (74%) and the health service (69%).

Problems caused by computer display screen equipment and repetitive strain injuries take second and third place on the list of office concerns.

Other common problems include slips and falls, back strains, long hours and high working temperatures.

The survey found that workplace concerns varied across the country.

For example, workers in London are most concerned about stress (68%), while workers in Yorkshire and East Anglia are the most worried about working
alone (38%).

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Stress casts a gloomy shadow over far too many UK workplaces.

"And as the current economic crisis creates more anxiety about job security, stress is likely to increase.”

He advised employers to take a more detailed look at troublesome office appliances such as computer equipment and furniture, and said offices should designate a safety representative to monitor issues on the ground.

“Simple office hazards, such as spending too much time fixed on a computer screen or sitting on a badly-designed chair, are often overlooked by employers. But this survey shows that they are actually a huge concern to workers and need to be addressed,” said Mr Barber.

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