HSE urge employers to address stress in the workplace

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has designated April as Stress Awareness Month and, as part of its Working Minds campaign has called on employers to support workers' mental health by employing five simple tips. The Working Minds campaign offers tools and support to help businesses and workers including free online learning, Talking Toolkits, risk assessment templates and examples.

Throughout the five weeks of April, employers are encouraged to focus on one of the campaign’s 5 Rs for each week. They are: to Reach out and have conversations, Recognise the signs and causes of stress, Respond to any risks you’ve identified, Reflect on actions you’ve agreed and taken, and make it Routine.

Liz Goodwill, head of the work-related stress and mental health policy team at HSE, said: “We are inviting business owners, employers and managers to join others across Britain to make a difference during Stress Awareness Month in five steps.

"Failing to manage work-related stress can cost employers in reduced productivity, sickness absence costs, or even losing a valued member of the team. Employers are required to assess the risk of work-related stress impacting their workers, and act on the risks identified.

“As well as guiding you step by step, we provide all the practical templates, tools and resources you need to get started or, you can use it as an opportunity to review what you already do. A huge part of this is making it part of your everyday working life, not just a one-off tick box that gets forgotten about," added Liz.

HSE has identified six main areas that can lead to work-related stress if not managed properly: demands, control, support, relationships, role and change. It was also agreed that factors including skills and experience, age or disability may all affect someone’s ability to cope.

Matt Powell-Howard, Head of Product Development at NEBOSH, said: “I’m really pleased that NEBOSH is supporting the Working Minds campaign as we are committed to promoting good mental health and preventing work-related stress.  We were delighted to have also collaborated with HSE on the development of the NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Managing Stress at Work qualification, which is designed to help business meet their legal obligations in this area.”