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Decision Validates Work-Related Stress Concerns

PSA Media Release March 15, 2002

Court decision validates work-related stress concerns

The Court of Appeal’s endorsement of a judgement awarding compensation to Auckland probation officer Christopher Gilbert highlights the importance that must be placed on workplace health and safety, Public Service Association secretary Richard Wagstaff said today.

“The PSA has continuously identified workplace stress as a real hazard to employees and it is one that is becoming more common. Many of our members have had to struggle to have stress-related illnesses recognised as genuine by their employers. The inevitable results of “burnout” or exhaustion and stress among staff are high levels of sick leave or people leaving their job, both of which are in neither their or their employer’s interest, and which cost businesses billions of dollars a year.”

Richard Wagstaff said work-related stress can be greatly reduced if employers and employees work together to develop sound work practices resulting in healthy, happier, and more productive workplaces.

He said the new Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill goes some way towards addressing serious concerns expressed by the PSA in the past.

“The Bill provides a platform for employers and health and safety committees to proactively look at the issue of workplace stress with as much vigour as they might look for hazardous substances.”

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