Work ‘MOTs’ to tackle stress

Safety reps will be urged to carry out risk assessments to identify and deal
with hotspots of work-related stress

Workers will be urged to carry out stress ‘MOTs’ of their workplaces this
autumn, as part of this year’s European Week for Safety and Health.

The TUC will be encouraging union safety representatives to carry out risk
assessments and use TUC checklists to help identify and tackle hotspots of
work-related stress.

A national conference on workplace stress will be held during the week,
which runs from 14 to 20 October.

The TUC is co-ordinating its workplace activities through the
Yorkshire-based occupational health and safety organisation, Worksafe.

Some five million workers say their job is stressful, with about 500,000
experiencing work-related stress at levels that make them ill. This is leading
to a loss of 6.5 million working days each year, estimates the TUC.

Owen Tudor, TUC head of policy, said: "Fundamentally, it is, like all
health and safety issues, a management problem. The one root cause of stress at
work is poor management, and good management can relieve the causes and
symptoms of workplace stress."

At the same time, the HSE has published a free newsletter and action pack to
promote this year’s activities.

The pack includes a 12-page newsletter, posters, stickers, fact sheets,
postcards and leaflets all of which focus on the "stress" theme.

The week is organised by the European Agency for Safety and Health and has
taken place five times since 1996.

Last year an estimated 25,000 enterprises took part, reaching 9.3 million
employees. More than 105,000 action packs were issued.

As part of its strategy of tackling workplace stress, the Health and Safety
Executive has been developing management standards designed to give employers a
clear yardstick against which to set their own management performance in
reducing stress.

The first pilot of these standards will begin next year, with the final
phase starting in 2005.

The HSE pack for this year’s event can be ordered by calling 0800 0850050,
or online, through its website.

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