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The Daily Mail, 'Nanny strikes again': stress in the workplace - Justin McCracken responds

Letter to the Editor, Daily Mail

11th August 2004

Sir,

Had Steve Doughty bothered to ask the private and public sector organisations we are consulting on draft stress management standards - indeed, had he talked to us at all - he would have discovered that HSE is not trying to eliminate workplace stress (Nanny strikes again, p.6).

We do not believe that "work is bad for you and that pressure leads to illness". We believe that reasonable pressure is part and parcel of good management. Excessive pressure, on the other hand, does not raise productivity and certainly can lead to illness.

Leo McKinstry (March of the nanny state fascists, p12) claims that we have switched our focus to "school sports days and garden fetes". This is utter nonsense. We continue to target our limited resources on those areas that matter most to British industry and where we can have most impact.

In 2003/4 235 workers died and 25,000 people were seriously injured at work, and most of these incidents were preventable. The human cost of this is enormous - each incident represents a personal tragedy. In addition, some 40 millions working days are lost as a result of work-related injury and ill-health. We are determined to make further inroads into these statistics and so lighten both the personal cost of these failings and the associated financial burden on British business.

Justin McCracken
Deputy Director General
HSE

Updated 2013-01-23