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BPF joins HSE campaign to tackle stress

04 January 2023

THE WORLD'S longest-running plastics trade association, the British Plastics Federation (BPF), has become the latest partner to join the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Working Minds campaign.

The latest statistics from HSE show there were an estimated 914,000 cases due to work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2021/22. That’s an 11% rise from the 822,000 cases in 2020/21. An estimated 17 million working days were lost to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2021/22, which covers more than half of all working days lost due to work-related ill health across the same period.

Since 2019, the total annual cost of poor mental health to employers has increased by 25%, costing UK employers up to £56 billion a year – according to a report by Deloitte. Figures show employers can see a return of £5.30 on average for every £1 invested in mental health.

Graeme Craig, senior industrial issues executive at BPF says, “When it comes to work-related stress, the link between wellness in the workplace and business performance is well documented but, for some smaller businesses, having the resource and capability to create a culture of inclusivity and engagement within their team can seem like a challenge.

“At every level, organisations and businesses are facing difficult questions in challenging times. And this is the clue to where we begin supporting employees – at every level. If employers don’t do anything about it, it will cost. That cost might be productivity, sickness absence, losing a valued member of the team if they’re not able to stay in work.”

HSE research showed that many employers are not aware that they are required by law to carry out a stress risk assessment and act upon the findings to prevent work-related stress and support good mental health in the workplace.

Working Minds was launched by HSE last year and is aimed specifically at supporting small businesses by providing employers and workers with easy to implement advice and tools to help them recognise and respond to the signs and causes of stress and support better mental health in the workplace.

Together with partners such as the BPF, HSE invites businesses and organisations across the nation to support its campaign and become Working Minds Champions to help raise awareness and drive change.

Elizabeth Goodwill, head of the Work Related Stress and Mental Health Policy Team at HSE, said: “We’re calling for a culture change across Britain’s workplaces so that recognising and responding to signs of stress become as routine as managing workplace safety and we can’t do it alone. We’re delighted to be working with the BPF to help prevent stress and support good mental health.

“Working Minds helps employers to follow 5 simple steps based on risk assessment. 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. It needs to become the norm to talk about stress and how people are feeling and coping at work.”