Temporary, extended or permanent incapacity for work as a result of sickness or infirmity. (European Foundation, 2007).
Acute Stress Reaction
Traumatic reactions that occur within a month of the incident. Usually involves a reaction to an abrupt, single easily identified cause (i.e. the sort of stress that happens after any threatening event, including a critical incident). Reactions that develop later than one month post event are called post-traumatic stress reactions (HSE, 2012).
A syndrome of complete physical and emotional exhaustion. Burnout can occur if stress remains active over a long period, otherwise known as chronic stress, it is characterised by ill health or lasting exhaustion and drain your physical and mental resources. (HSE, 2012).
A condition arising from a cumulative reaction to a build up of pressure over time (e.g. as a result of increased workload, increased hours, role conflict, job insecurity, interpersonal conflict and lack of support).
An event out of the range of normal experience – one which is sudden and unexpected, makes you lose control, involves the perception of a threat to life and can include elements of physical and emotional loss (WHO, 2006).
Critical Incident Stress (CIS)
The stress reaction of a person or a group to a Critical Incident (or CI) and is characterised by a wide range of cognitive, physical, emotional and behavioural signs and symptoms which are likely to diminish over time (Lavan & McManamly, 2003).
Psychological distress refers to the negative feelings (such as anxiety, anger, depression, or frustration) that individuals may experience in response to pressures or demands. (HSE UK, 2007).
EAP (Employee Assistance Programme)
EAP focuses on the provision of counselling and employee assistance programmes in order to assist employees who feel a need for extra support, other than that contained in the human resource function. (HSA, 2009).
Often referred to as Good stress that enables a person to perform tasks more efficiently, enhances performance - Positive or pleasant stress. (Seyle, 1956).
Subsequent and related ill effects on the health of an employee(s) following exposure to hazards at work (BSI, 2011).
Those features of the workplace (either physical or psychosocial or in combination) that are a potential source of harm or adverse health effect on a person or persons (HSA, 2006).
The degree to which an individual derives satisfaction from the performance of their work and the work experience (Comcare, 2008).
Organisational climate refers to perceptions of organisational practices (e.g., leadership, structure, rewards, communication) reported by people who work there (Rousseau 1988).
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a delayed response to an acute stressful and life threatening event or situation, such as witnessing a violent act (HSE, 2012).
Focuses on stress prevention activity ‘at source’, in order to prevent it occurring. It usually involves addressing work-related hazards and the sources of harm (e.g. changes to organisational culture, workload, job redesign) (HSA, 2012)
A term which recognises that although a person may be present in the workplace they may be unproductive due to low morale, or be too sick, distressed or distracted to work effectively. A form of ‘withdrawal’ behaviour (BSI, 2011).
‘Psychological injury’ is the form of injury generally associated generally associated with stress. The medical conditions included in this term include depression, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (Comcare, 2008). These are clearly defined diagnoses and require appropriate clinical assessment and intervention.
The interactions of: 1) job content, work organisation and management, and other environmental and organisational conditions, and 2) employees' competencies and needs. Whereby the above interactions have a hazardous influence over employees' health through their perceptions and experience (ILO, 1986).
The likelihood, great or small, that someone will be harmed by the hazard, together with the severity of harm suffered. Risk also depends on the number of people exposed to the hazard (HSA, 2006).
Risk Assessment is a careful examination of what, in the workplace, could cause harm to people, so that the employer can weigh up whether he or she has taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm (HSA, 2006).
Focuses on prevention activity for employees by minimising the adverse effects of a hazard. It includes training for the job, training in general aspects of health and safety, training in coping strategies and support offered through the provision of adequate management of the social and technical aspects of an employee’s working life (i.e. identifying and assisting employees exhibiting the early warning signs of stress and providing EAPs). This good management practice has a role both in preventing stress and helping stressed employees to recover (HSA, 2012).
Stress is a mental and physical condition which results from pressure or demands that strain or exceed your capacity or perceived capacity to cope (HSE, 2012).
Focuses on the provision of staff supports such as counselling, employee assistance programmes (EAPs), occupational health or outsourced support services in order to assist employees who feel a need for extra support as a result of injury or illness (HSA, 2012). It includes the treatment of the identified condition, rehabilitation and return to work strategies.