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The University of Southampton
Human Resources


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines work-related stress as "the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work".

According to the HSE, stress is not an illness but a "state". Stress may become an illness if it is excessive and prolonged and a mental and/or physical illness develops as a result. One of the biggest causes of long-term sickness absence in the UK is frequently identified as stress.

A certain amount of pressure is a normal part of most jobs and can be beneficial to support levels of motivation. However, there is a point at which too much pressure can have a detrimental effect on an individual and result them experiencing stress. The tipping point will differ from person to person.

The University recognises its a duty of care towards all our staff and is committed to ensuring their health, safety and welfare as far as reasonably practicable. Managers play an important role in achieving this by being alert to the risks of stress among their team even before individuals display obvious symptoms.

Our guidance and policies are designed to reduce the likelihood and impact of stress. However they also clarify action to be taken when staff members are experiencing stress.

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