Stress risk assessments in the workplace

Stress risk assessments in the workplace

Stress risk assessments in the workplace

Every employer wants to create a safe environment for their staff, that’s why workplace stress risk assessments are so important.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) describes the purpose of risk assessments as ‘identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace’.

Of course, taking notes of potential hazards such as heavy machinery or electrical issues is something that is a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. 

But with workplace stress becoming increasingly more common, is there more that employers can be doing to assess the risk of stress in the workplace?

While employers are pretty on the ball about risk assessments that could prevent physical injury, not many consider the implications of factors that can cause work-related stress.

This is often because it can be relatively difficult to define these potential hazards. For example, it’s become common sense for humans to use items of safety equipment when dealing with hazardous chemicals, but if you were to look around your office, would you know which elements are likely to induce anxiety? 

Putting the effort into assessing the risk of stress in the workplace can have huge benefits for businesses.

Stress, depression, and anxiety disorders are the reason for the majority of days lost due to poor health.

In fact, 9.9 million days a year are estimated to have been lost for these reasons alone.

What’s more, these conditions lead to an average of 23 days off work, which means employers are left without valued members of staff for a substantial amount of time.

How do we assess the risk of stress?

Although few businesses are aware of it, you can tackle workplace stress with risk assessments before it becomes a more substantial issue.

The HSE’s Management Standards provide a detailed questionnaire and form for employers to carry out an in-depth workplace stress risk assessment of potential factors to consider in the workplace.

Some of these include: 

  • Ensuring employees are comfortable with their workload
  • Providing appropriate training
  • Creating a comfortable environment in which employees can talk openly with managers
  • Making sure adequate managerial support is provided

Of course, it’s all well and good to suggest that these things are taken into account, but how can employers mitigate these risks and really make sure that support is provided?

It’s important that employers regularly review work patterns and regularly assess working conditions. Combating workplace stress is doable, providing employers are vigilant.

It’s vital that you adjust work patterns during busy periods and review training needs on a regular basis.

But more than anything, it’s about creating a company culture that is encompassing of all staff so that everyone understands any challenges or issues that could arise.

Encourage your staff to share concerns with you and create a workplace environment that you’re proud of. Maintaining a high standard of employee health and wellbeing is the key to combating workplace stress. 

If you’re able to do this, you’ll reap the benefits almost immediately. Not only will your employees be happier, but their productivity and morale will increase.

This, in turn, will lead to a rise in their attendance levels and a decrease in sickness, improving your employee absence management.

If you’d like to find out more about workplace stress risk assessments, get in touch today