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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 16 April 2007

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STRESS is the biggest threat to health in the workplace and employers need to do more to tackle the problem, new research from Benenden Healthcare Society shows. Workers believe tackling stress should be the main priority for employers ahead of risks to health from long hours, staring at VDU screens and heavy lifting.  Nearly 2 out of 5 workers – around 4.9 million people – believe tackling stress in the workplace should be the first priority for employers, ahead of 1 in 6 who believe long hours should be the major priority, research from Benenden Healthcare, a provider of affordable quality healthcare services, reveals.

Around 47% of workers believe employers have the most responsibility to monitor health risks in the workplace and to take action to minimise them. Just 7% believe it should be a job for the Government while only 2% believe unions have the most responsibility for the issue.  Up to 36% of employees identified stress as the biggest risk to health work – way ahead of other risks such as heavy lifting which was selected by 15% of staff.

Jakki Stubbington of Benenden Healthcare said:- “Stress is easy to laugh at and we all know people who complain about being stressed by what seem like relatively minor issues.  However stress is a real issue at work and is having a real effect on health with people saying that they would prefer action on stress ahead of action on long hours. The effects of stress are less easy to quantify for employers but it is undeniable that stressed workers will perform less well.  Millions of us spend most of our weekday lives at work so it should be no surprise that workplace health hazards are a major concern. Employers should take heed of concerns about workplace health. Tackling stress, though, needn’t be expensive for employers and it will pay off.”

Workers aged between 16 and 24 are less concerned about stress. Just 30% of them believe it should be tackled as a priority by employers compared with 44% of workers aged 55 to 64.


LIVERPOOL Anglican Cathedral will be hosting a powerful event for school children to mark the 200th anniversary of the 1807 Bill abolishing the slave trade. The event is taking place in around 30 different Cathedrals throughout 2007, and has been organised by the Church Mission Society (an organisation set up over 200 years ago, in close connection with the Abolitionists)and Big Intent Theatre in Education Company. The event involves drama workshops exploring the history of 1807, the harsh reality of the slave trade, and the continuing reality of slavery and injustice in the world today. 150 young people aged between 9 and 13 years old will participate in the workshops in the Cathedral during the week, and take part in a performance each day at 1.30pm. The performances are open to members of the public , and aim to challenge all of us to play our part in eradicating injustice in the world today.

For more information about the project, please visit our website, and to find out more about the event in Liverpool, please contact Anita Matthews (CMS National Adviser Children
and Youth) on 07910 137229 or Sarah O'Donohue, Education Officer at Liverpool Cathedral.

Dare to Compare

BRITAIN is becoming a nation of comparers according to a new survey, which has found that 1 in 3 people in the North West feel less successful than their friends, placing increasing pressure to keep up with the Jones’ in everything from finance and physique to IT gear. 

The research of over 1800 people was conducted by for price comparator website, and found that women are more likely to compare themselves and their assets to their friends, while men tend to look at work colleagues as their peers.  This comparison cultureis placing growing pressure on North West men and women to have more, potentially resulting in growing debt and low self-worth as they try to keep up with friends and colleagues.

North West respondents reported experiencing peer pressure to wear designer clothes and shoes, to shop in certain stores, to drive a newer, faster car, and to buy their children bigger and better Christmas/birthday presents.

Top 10 Areas of Comparison for People in the North West

1) House
2) Salaries
3) Clothes/fashion sense
4) Job Role/position
5) Holidays
6) Cars & Body Parts
8) Spouse/partner
9) Children
10) IT gadgets

When it comes to personal comparisons, over 1 in 4 people in the North West worry most about their figures compared to those of their friends, followed by almost 1 in 10 worrying about their personality, and other personal concerns including relationship success, skin condition and hair style.  For 16 – 24 year olds nearly 50% are concerned about how their body parts compare to those of their friends, underlining the pressure that now exists on body image.  As well as comparing to friends, many people also compare themselves to their partner - 1 in 10 people in the North West said they thought they were too good for their ‘loved one’. The 45+ age group is the most likely to see themselves as being able to do better than their partner.

The comparison culture is also rife in the North West’s workplace, where over 30% of women compare their position to that of their colleagues, while 1 in 4 men compare their salaries. The pressure to keep up with colleagues and friends is resulting in many people telling white lies, with the top white lie for both men and women being about their job title/role.

Gareth Robinson, marketing director of, said:- “Everyone compares themselves to some degree, whether with friends, colleagues or celebrities. The findings of the survey underline the extent to which people are now feeling peer pressure to live up to others, whether it’s the way they look, their salaries or even their partner.  It is understandable to compare things such as price when you’re shopping, but it’s important for people to do what’s right for them and not to get dragged in to a culture of comparing to those you know.”

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