About Stress Management : Work Related Stress Laws

Work related stress laws

Last article, I showed you all 10 techniques to deal with stress and manage it. I did a bit of further reading, and I found out a bit more about it to share with you. 😄 When talking about stress management, there are some workplace laws that protect you from the stressful factors at work.

If you have ever wondered ‘ What laws protect me from stress at work?’ then this should be a good read for you. Surprisingly, there is not one, but many such Acts that cover ones safety from harmful, stressful factors at work. However, please take into account the proper applications of these regulations and acts and also be aware of it. Awareness is the key!

About Stress Management : Workplace Laws That Protect You From Stress

Work related stress laws about stress management

There are a wide range of acts and laws that ensure your protection from excessive and harmful stress at work. First of all, every worker should be aware of the signs of work related stress. There are as follows :

  • Fatigue, Headaches
  • Muscular Tension
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Sleep problems
  • Diarrhea or other such gastrointestinal problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Other cognitive troubles
  • Pessimistic attitude or irritation
  • Mood swings
  • Isolated behavior
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Relationship problems

There are various stressful causes for these symptoms which relate to work environment, relations, etc.

  • Excessive workload
  • Insufficient skills to manage work load
  • Harassment and discrimination
  • Poor Relationships
  • Poor Workplace Environment
  • Long Work Hours and tight deadlines
  • Limited resources
  • Sudden traumatic incidents such as death of colleagues, etc.

You should be aware of these factors amd understand the reasons for your stress and anxiety. Then, perhaps, seek help of a psychologist, or have a talk with the Human Resources Manager at work. The less stress your job causes, the better. So don’t unnecessarily force yourself through it; there are ways to prevent it.

Thus, it became necessary to create laws that deal with the factors of stress. If you have been paying attention, you will motice that there are no laws to help you ‘deal’ with stress. However, the law provides you the opportunity to deal with the factors of stress. If ever you come across any such factors that are causing stress and derailing you efficiency at work, make use of these laws.

Work Related Stress Laws : Acts, Laws And Regulations

About Stress Management work related stress laws

=>Work Time Regulations 1998

Status : Current Legislation

As we saw above, long working hours is one major factor of stress. In order to counter that, people implemented the Work Time Regulations 1998. It states that :

  • Resting Period of 11 hours.
  • Rest break of 20 minutes. This applies if the working period is more than 6 hours.
  • Maximum 8 hours of work ( night shifts ).
  • One day off every week.
  • A working week of maximum 48 hours including overtime. Employees can choose to opt out of this.
  • 4 weeks paid annual leave ( inclusive of bank amd public holidays ).

This is applicable not only to employees, but other workers as well.

=>Criminal Justice And Public Order Act 1994

Status : Amended to Crime And Disorder Act 1998

This act makes intended harassment punishable by law. This is applicable if the concerned perpetrator uses abusive or insulting language or behavior ( in writing or speech alike ) which causes distress or alarm to the person.

=>Occupational Safety And Health Act 1970

Status : Current Legislation

The Occupational Safety And Health Act 1970 states that ensures that the business consists of a safe workplace, free from hazards. It promotes health and safety in the workplace and also ensures a reduction of injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in the job.

=>Equality Act 2010 ( Disability Discrimination Act, Equal Pay, Sex Discriminations Act, Race Relations Act all covered under one )

Status : Current Legislation

This law protects employees against discrimination on grounds of sex, race, religion, disability, beliefs, etc. Every employee has equal access to employment regardless of the above mentioned factors. In the case of disability, the employer and service providers must make reasonable changes to their workplace. As a result, people can overcome the barriers of disability easily.

=>Health And Safety At Work, Etc. Act 1974

Status : Current Legislation

This act states that it is the duty of all employers to share healthy and safe working systems. They must also ensure proper mental as well as physical health, safety and welfare of all employees working under them.

Furthermore, it is the duty of the employees to report all incidents that are harmful to them ( such as bullying/harassment ). Although, employees don’t have an obligation under such act, they have a general obligation under the above act, Section 7. This comes under the RIDDOR ( Reporting Of Injuries, Diseases or Dangerous Occurrences Regulation ). ‘Responsible people’ must report deaths, diseases, injuries or amy such near misses that occur due to work or in relationship to work. RIDDOR is in current legislation.

Points To Consider

Work related stress laws points to consider

Before taking any step, make sure that as an employee, you have brought the problems to the notice of your employees. First of all, you should suggest ways to organise the workplace to eliminate stress factors. If you are suffering from a condition, be sure to inform your employer. Furthermore, if the pressure of your job is causing ill health, inform them. It is your duty to inform, and theirs to take action; so make sure to do your part.

One should be able to present clear and unequivocal evidence that they have been psychologically affected by work. They must have clinically diagnosed condition. He/She should be able to prove their efforts of raising the causes of their condition with the employer, and that he/she has failed to carry out his duty.

One should also note that, these laws vary from country to country, sometimes even from state to state. So I highly advise properly researching all work related laws in your state and country before taking any action. It is best to be aware before taking any action. 

The HSE also provide management standards which explain how to properly address work related stress. Link Here.


1. Should these laws be compulsorily implemented in every state and country? Should they be the same universally? What is your opinion?

2. Lastly, what else can you suggest which can help decrease or eliminate factors that can cause harmful stress to employees and workers?

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