HSE launches new guidelines on managing stress among workers

The
problem of workplace stress has reached such proportions that the Health and
Safety Executive (HSE) has launched new guidance for employers on how to deal
with it.

The
fresh advice has received strong Government backing following the findings of
exclusive research by Personnel Today and the HSE last month, which revealed
the extent of the crisis.

Real
solutions, real people – a managers’ guide to tackling work-related stress, has
been designed to provide a starting point for the workforce to agree on ways of
introducing stress risk assessments.

Minister
for Work, Des Browne, said the move would help employers face up to the issue,
which he said costs society more than £3.7bn every year.

“The
Government’s approach is based on encouraging supportive organisational
cultures where employers work with staff to identify and address real employee
concerns in a positive way,” he said.

The
guidance is based on action plans to record and monitor the issues surrounding
stress, and is supported by learning points and prompt cards.

The
scheme is part of the organisation’s Priority Programme on Stress, which
includes the responsibility to develop a set of agreed standards on best
practice for stress management.

The
standards are currently being piloted by 25 organisations and will be
officially released for further consultation next spring.

Bill
Callaghan, chair of the Health and Safety Commission, said the changing nature
of society and the economy has led to the need for more innovative solutions to
workplace illness.

“This
will provide a tool to help managers and staff develop solutions to tackle
work-related stress that are specifically relevant to their organisations and
the particular needs identified by risk assessment,” he explained.

By
Ross Wigham

www.hse.gov.uk/stress

Stress:
the employers’ view


83 per cent believe stress harms productivity


52 per cent said it is on the increase


11 per cent of absence is caused by stress


60 per cent believe it is damaging retention


1,554,256 working days a year are lost to stress


Absence costs employers £1.24bn a year

Source:
‘Stress in the UK workplace’, Personnel Today/HSE

www.personneltoday.com/resources

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