The Government is planning to commission an SME-specific handbook, offering guidance on reducing stress in the business environment. It will take into account pressures and limitations unique to smaller businesses.
"Small businesses have special needs beyond those of companies that are big enough to employ human resource specialists," a Health & Safety Executive spokesperson said. "We plan to create a guide with this in mind, taking into consideration the specific needs of SMEs which are short on time and personnel," she added.
The new research revealed that half a million UK people believe their health is suffering because of work-related pressures. Meanwhile, up to 5 million people feel "very" or "extremely" stressed by their job.
At 1996 prices, the problem was calculated to cost the economy between £3.7 billion and £3.8 billion every year. The HSE is urging bosses to stamp out practices that create stressful working conditions. It says there is a "clear link between poor work organisation and subsequent ill-health".
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