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Stress and Mental Fatigue Guidelines

Category Health and Safety
Type Guideline
Approved by Vice Chancellor at VCAG, June 2006
Date Guideline Took Effect 1 June 2006
Last approved revision
Sponsor Chief Operating Officer
Responsible officer Head, Health and Safety Compliance

Please note that compliance with University Guidelines is expected in normal circumstances, and any deviation from Guidelines – which should only be in exceptional circumstances – needs to be justifiable.


Mental illness or harm caused by work-related stress is an important issue. The University of Otago recognises the need to manage this hazard within legislative and best practice guidelines.

Organisational scope

These guidelines apply university-wide.


Stress: defined in terms of the interaction between a person and their (work) environment and is the awareness of not being able to cope with the demands of one’s environment, when this realisation is of concern to the person, in that both are associated with a negative emotional response. Stress itself is not an illness but an awareness that a person is not coping, and that this is a negative feeling, which may need to be conveyed to the employer.

Fatigue: defined as the temporary inability, or decrease in ability, or strong disinclination, to respond to a situation, because of previous over - activity, either mental, emotional or physical


Click here to download the Stress and Mental Fatigue Guidelines.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
Health and Safety Policy

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact Andrea McMillan on or (03) 479 7380.