Last week was ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ and the focus was very much on tackling stress.
Health & Safety statistics for 2017 show that for the first time, stress, depression and anxiety has topped the table as the top cause of all work-related ill-health cases.
So what can, and should we, as employers do to protect our workforce?
With an estimated 49% of working days lost due to ill health being as a result of stress, anxiety and depression, can you afford not to address this as part of your health and safety policy.
By reducing stress, it would not only improve the health and well-being of your staff, but this also has a positive impact on the business as whole, improving staff retention rates, productivity and the service we provide to customers.
To understand it, we must consider what the main contributing factors in the work place may be. Often this is due to increased workload pressures and/or lack of or perceived lack of support from management. Changes in the workplace, job insecurity, work relationships and even boredom can also contribute to stress levels.
Employers have a legal duty to protect employees by carrying out a risk assessment for stress and then putting in place control measures to reduce the risk to employees.
These risk assessments do not need to be complex and a good starting point is the HSE website which has a plethora of useful tools including sample stress risk assessments and a brilliant management standards workbook which takes you through the process step by step and includes checklists to help you manage stress in your workplace.