Stress is a widely used term, with most people having an idea about its meaning. Work-related stress describes the physical, mental and emotional reactions of workers who perceive that their work demands exceed their abilities and/or their resources (such as time, help/support) to do the work. Stress occurs when people feel they are not coping in situations where it is important to them that they cope.
A worker's response to stressors at work may be positive or negative depending on the type of demands placed on them, the amount of control they have over the situation, the amount of support they receive and the individual response of the person. In the vast majority of instances people adjust to stressors and are able to continue to perform their normal work duties. While stress itself is not a disease, where it becomes excessive and long lasting, it can lead to ill-health.
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA), the PCBU has a primary duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of their workers is not put at risk. This duty extends to protecting workers from the risk of harm from stressors at work.