HSE Discusses Managing Stress in the Workplace

In a recent news article released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it has been reported that work related stress costs employers over 11 million days of work a year. All employers have a legal duty to protect their employees from stress caused through their job, and should do this by undertaking risk assessments and acting on them accordingly.

All results should be shared openly with the employee to enable them to identify and manage the main causes of stress in the workplace, giving them a chance to rectify any underlying issues before the situation gets worse.

Stress has been defined by the HSE as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them.’ Planning, training and support can reduce pressure and bring stress levels down as stress is often brought on when an employee feels that they cannot cope with certain pressures, such as meeting tight deadlines or other issues like not having the correct skills to enable them to do this.

As well as levels of skills and experience, and age and disability all being factors of work related stress, the report highlights six main areas of work design which can effect stress levels. These areas should be managed sufficiently and the risk factors assessed to manage stress effectively in the workplace. These are:

  • Demands
  • Control
  • Support
  • Relationships
  • Role
  • Change

Although stress is not classed as an illness, it can make you ill if not tackled early enough and recognising the signs of stress will help employers to take steps to stop, lower and manage stress in their workplace.

If you think that an employee is having problems it is important to encourage them to talk to someone whether that be their line manager, trade union representative, GP or their local Occupational Health team.

For tools on how to carry out practical conversations with employees and for example stress risk assessments read the full article.

 

Source: Health and Safety Executive Online, Work-related stress and how to tackle it. Read the full article.

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