January 17, 2022
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In normal years it is estimated that around 600,00 workers suffer from work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new or longstanding) and over 12 million working days are lost to these causes, making this the number one cause of employee sickness absence. With added anxiety caused by Coronavirus, it is no surprise that this is a serious issue.

Recently the HSE launched ‘Working Minds’ a new campaign targeting six million workers in small businesses. The HSE are calling for a culture change across Britain’s workplaces, to ensure psychological risks are treated the same as physical ones in health and safety risk management.

You can find more about the campaign and inks to resources intended to help employers understand the issue, the legal environment and what they need to do on the Gov.UK website at: https://workright.campaign.gov.uk/campaigns/working-minds/

While this campaign is targeted at smaller business, all employers have a legal duty to protect employees from being harmed from stress at work. The HSE identify six main areas of work design which can effect stress levels, these are demands, control, support, relationships, role and change.

Employers should aim to manage these for example by ensuring that:

  • Workers are able to cope with the demands of their jobs
  • Workers can control the way they do their work
  • Workers receive enough information and support and fully understand their role and responsibilities
  • When a business is undergoing change, workers are involved in the process

Previously HSE launched a Stress Talking Toolkit to help managers talk with workers as part of their overall approach to preventing and managing work-related stress. Recently this has been extended to included specific toolkits for NHS employers and the construction and education sectors.

These talking toolkits can be found on the HSE’s website at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/talking-toolkit.htm

Of course some workers may have a pre-existing mental health condition or may develop one as a result of factors that are not work-related. Advice for managers to help them support employees with mental health conditions can also be found on the HSE’s website at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/mental-health-line-managers.htm

Please speak to your normal PIB Risk Management contact or get in touch using [email protected] if you have any questions or would like assistance with managing work related stress.