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HSENI's guide to managing work-related stress

25 October 2019

THE INNOVATIVE step-by-step guide, recently produced by HSENI in the form of a Management Standards wheel, is a simple to follow interactive guide charting the steps all employers should follow to effectively manage work-related stress.

Based on the Health and Safety Executive’s ‘Management Standards’, it provides a framework for employers to effectively manage work-related stress at an organisational level.

The Management Standards identify six key aspects of work, such as work demands, relationships and change, which if not managed properly can lead to excessive pressures in the workplace.

Speaking of the pressures associated with work-related stress and at the launch of the guide, HSENI’s mental well-being at work advisor, Claire Kelly, said, “There are many good reasons for tackling stress in the workplace. There is convincing evidence that prolonged periods of stress, including work- related stress, have an adverse effect on health. 

“I hope this innovative step-by-step guide will serve as a useful aid to employers as they begin to manage this significant workplace health hazard.” 

Speaking on behalf of the Public Health Agency, Janet Calvert said, “The Public Health Agency and their partners have worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland in the delivery of tailored workshops across all sectors on the subject of managing work-related stress. I welcome this innovative guide and would encourage employers to adopt the principles of the Management Standards as they consider and actively manage the risks associated with work-related stress.”

Work-related stress can affect anyone at any level of an organisation and is not just confined to any one particular job, sector or industry. Work-related stress may be defined as the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed upon them at work.

Our day-to-day work plays an important role in promoting mental well-being. In addition to being a source of income, our work provides a sense of fulfillment and opportunities for social interaction. Unfortunately our work can have negative effects on our mental health, particularly in the form of stress. For employers, too much stress can result in decreased productivity and profitability, as well as increased absenteeism, presenteeism and staff turnover.

As a further aid to employers the Public Health Agency have publishedHealth and wellbeing at work: a resource guide. This guide outlines practical steps that employers can take to promote a positive psychosocial work environment. Simple measures such as ensuring commitment from management; employee assistance programmes; training systems to ensure staff have the right skills and knowledge required for their role; and human resource policies addressing health and wellbeing issues, all have an important part to play in developing an effective control strategy to deal with work-related stress.

Multiple copies of HSENI’s new interactive guide on the Management Standards are available to employers and organisations by contacting HSENI at stress@hseni.gov.uk  More information in relation to forthcoming workshops on managing work-related stress is available online at https://www.hseni.gov.uk/articles/health-and-safety-events