HSE publishes draft stress code

Draft stress management standards have been published on the Health and
Safety Executive’s (HSE) website.

The standards, which are currently being piloted by a group of 24 public and
private sector organisations (News, 3 April), are designed to help employers
manage stress in the workplace.

They are based on the HSE’s seven causes of stress, which are identified in
its guide Tackling Work-Related Stress, and cover areas such as workloads,
working hours and the support that staff receive at work.

The six-month pilot scheme will be followed by the publication of a
discussion document, expected in January next year, and a formal consultation
period before the first standards are introduced later in 2004.

It is likely that companies which continue to breach the stress management
standards will ultimately face prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work
Act, which places a duty on employers to look after the mental health of their

Bill Callaghan, chair of the HSE, said: "Stress is on everyone’s lips
and business people are becoming aware of just how costly dealing with this
problem can be. I think handing them a tool to help them develop good practice
makes sense."


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