Today the World Health Organization has already recognized work-related stress as one of the main problems both for the health of workers and for the good functioning of the entities for which they work.
What is work-related stress?
What does work-related stress consist of?
Work stress is defined by the WHO as the reaction that an individual may have to work demands and pressures that do not match his or her knowledge and abilities, testing his or her ability to cope with the situation.
Most of the causes of job stress are related to the way in which the job is defined or the way it is managed by companies, factors such as, among many others:
- Volume and pace of work: too much or too little work; jobs with very tight deadlines.
- Position characteristics: monotonous, dull and trivial tasks; lack of variety; unpleasant tasks, etc.
- Work schedule: Strict and inflexible schedules; very long or off-the-clock working hours; ill-conceived shift systems, etc.
Stress in the work context can be caused by a wide variety of work situations, but it is often aggravated when the worker feels that he or she does not receive sufficient support from supervisors and co-workers, or has limited control over his or her work.
Work-related stress is a real problem for workers and the companies that employ them, as it negatively affects the psychological and physical health of the workers and the effectiveness of the entities for which they work.
In extreme cases, prolonged stress or traumatic work events can cause psychological problems and lead to psychiatric disorders.
The «burned out» worker syndrome
A chronic or prolonged stress in the workplace that has not been successfully managed poses a risk to the mental health of the worker and could sometimes lead to the so-called burnout syndrome, «burnout» or «occupational burnout.»
Worker burnout syndrome is a risk to the mental health of the worker and could sometimes lead to burnout syndrome.
This syndrome consists of a type of occupational stress, which involves a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion and has still been included this past year in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) of the WHO. It is characterized by three dimensions:
- feelings of a lack of energy or exhaustion;
- increased mental distance from work, or negative or cynical feelings about work; and
- reduced professional effectiveness;
Occupational burnout syndrome refers specifically to phenomena in the work contextand should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.
The TSJ of Navarra pointed out, in its sentence 47/2014, of March 5, 2014, that the characterization of this disorder lies in the emotional fatigue (progressive loss of energy, wear and tear, exhaustion and emotional fatigue), as the person «burned out» by work «has strength, but does not feel like it». The syndrome translates into depersonalization, manifested in a lack of personal fulfillment, feelings of frustration, uselessness, progressive disinterest in work with routinization of tasks; isolation from the work and social environment and, frequently, anxiety and depression (chronic adaptive psychic disorder). Regarding its causes, the job-related stressors and personal variables are identified as triggering work stressors.
The former include the professional category, the functions performed or staff shortages. Regarding the latter, it is a care work stress, and therefore with more incidence in the service sector, among which it is worth mentioning the social services in which the work is performed in direct contact with people who by their characteristics are subjects of assistance.
As a disease, burnout syndrome is cause of sick leave, and not only gives rise to temporary disability, but also permanent. It is a occupational disorder, and not a common one. In order to determine its occupational origin, it will therefore be necessary to prove certain characteristics of the ailments and the causal link between these and the employment relationship.
It is a disorder of an occupational nature, and not a common one.
Occupational exhaustion syndrome must be considered as an occupational accident based on the General Social Security Law, since it is a disease that the worker contracts exclusively for reasons of the performance of his work.
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