HSE issues practical guide to tackle workplace stress

New
guidance aims to improve the way employers deal with the causes of workplace
stress

Step-by-step
comprehensive guidance on tackling the causes of stress in the workplace –
which is estimated to be costing employers £370m a year – has been published by
the Health and Safety Executive.

Tackling
Work-related Stress: a Managers’ Guide to Improving and Maintaining Employee
Health and Wellbeing is aimed at employers with more than 50 staff.

It
is designed to help them identify who is at risk and what steps they can take
to prevent problems occurring. It also outlines employers’ statutory
obligations and making the case for taking effective action.

Stress-related
illness is responsible for the loss of 6.5 million working days each year,
costing the country as a whole £3.75bn, said the HSE. An estimated half a
million people are suffering from work-related stress, anxiety or depression at
levels that make them ill, it added.

The
move is a first step by the HSE in drawing up benchmarks for measuring
employers’ performance in preventing work-related stress. These are being
developed in partnership with the business community.

An
employee leaflet has also been published explaining what stress is, how it
affects people and what individuals can do at work to help.

Jo
Berriman, occupational health manager at Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, said the
guidance would undoubtedly be useful for employers.

"Managers
are becoming more aware of stress, but it is still patchy. They will be
receptive. Anything that helps is a good idea," she said.

The
HSE’s guidance can be ordered online or through HSE Books, tel: 01787 881165.

www.hsebooks.co.uk

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