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A basic guide to Stress

HSE’s formal definition of work-related stress is- “The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work.” Stress is not an illness – it is a state. However, if stress becomes too excessive and prolonged, mental and physical illness may develop.

Work is generally good for you if it is well designed, but it can also be a great source of pressure. There is a difference between pressure and stress. Pressure can be positive and a motivating factor and is often essential in a job. It can help us achieve our goals and perform better. Stress occurs when this pressure becomes excessive. Stress is a natural reaction to too much pressure. A person experiences stress when they perceive that the demands of their work are greater than their ability to cope.

Coping means balancing the demands and pressures placed on you (i.e. the job requirements) with your skills and knowledge (i.e. your capabilities). For example, if a member of your team has a tight deadline on a project, they feel they have neither the skills nor ability to do well, they may begin to feel undue pressure which could result in work related stress.

Stress can also result from having too few demands, as people will become bored, feel undervalued and lack recognition. If they feel they have little or no say over the work they do or how they do it, this may cause them stress. Key Points


  • Stress affects people in different ways and what one person finds stressful can be normal to another. With each new situation a person will decide what the challenge is and whether they have the resources to cope. If they decide they don’t have the resources, they will begin to feel stressed. How they appraise the situation will depend on various factors, including-
    • background and culture
    • skills and experience
    • personality
    • personal circumstances
    • individual characteristics
    • health status
    • ethnicity, gender, age or disability
    • other demands both in and outside work


  • HSE has identified six factors that can lead to work related stress if they are not managed properly. It is important to understand each of the six factors and how they are related to each other, as this can influence the amount of stress an individual experience. These ‘Stressors’ are-


  • Demands:

Employees indicate that they are not able to cope with the demands of their jobs. Please do not be scared to ask for support from your working colleagues.


  • Control:

Employees indicate that they are not able to have a say about the way they do their work.  All Kenegie team members are to have a voice in how their working environments can be improved.  Improvement and autonomy should be given to all team members where possible.


  • Support:

Employees indicate that they don’t receive adequate information and support from their colleagues and superiors. If this is the case, then please ask for support from your line-manager and ensure that your daily duties are clear. On busy changeover days recognise the pressure the team is under and support whenever you can. This applies to ALL STAFF.


  • Relationships:

Employees indicate that they are subjected to unacceptable behaviours, e.g. bullying at work.  This is absolutely not acceptable and should be reported immediately to Ed Newbold in the strictest of confidence.


  • Role:

Employees indicate that they don’t understand their role and responsibilities. Please always ensure that you are clear and your day is as planned as possible before you commence your working day. Make a list and manage your time. Better still, insist on a meeting with your line-manager the shift before so you fully understand your duties.  A prepared day usually has less stress!


  • Change:

Employees indicate that the organisation does not engage them when undergoing an organisational change.  We aim to be as fully open about changes and developments within the company.



  • It is extremely important that you tell your line manager if you feel you may be suffering from work related stress and we as a company will do our best to improve the situation.

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