HSE urges action on work-related stress

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is calling on employers to take urgent action as part of their legal duty to protect workers from work-related stress. 

Whether it is a small business or a large corporation, the law requires all employers to prevent work-related stress to support good mental health in the workplace. Employers have an obligation to undertake a risk assessment and act on it. 

As part of its Working Minds campaign, which aims to prevent work-related stress and promote good mental health in the workplace, HSE has compiled a list of resources to assist employers and workers during Stress Awareness Month this April

Launched in November 2021, Working Minds includes 22 partner organisations, with the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and See Me – Scotland’s national programme to end mental health stigma – both joining this month.  

The campaign is reminding businesses the law requires all employers to assess the risk of work-related stress, and to assist employers to prevent or tackle any work-related stress to support good mental health in their workers. 

Helpful resources

Working Minds campaign website
HSE’s work-related stress webpages
HSE podcast with wellbeing expert Cary Cooper
HSE’s stress and mental health at work video
HSE’s Stress Management Standards
Talking Toolkit
Working Minds’ prevent stress at work poster
Risk assessment template
Mobile app
Stress Indicator Tool
NEBOSH stress training qualification and training course
Mind helpline (open 9am-6pm weekdays) – 0300 123 3393

Risk assessment 

Liz Goodwill, head of the work-related stress and mental health policy team at HSE, said: “Stress Awareness Month is an opportunity for employers to check in and support their staff’s mental health.  

“Working Minds helps employers to follow five 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. 

“There are six main areas that can lead to work-related stress if they are not managed properly. These are demands, control, support, relationships, role, and change. Factors like skills and experience, age, or disability may all affect someone’s ability to cope.” 

Bill Hill, chief executive of the Lighthouse Club, added: “Stress, anxiety and depression accounts for 20% of all recorded workplace absence in construction. Everyone in our industry needs to recognise the early signs and symptoms and signpost to help. Stress Awareness Month is a timely opportunity to reinforce this message and for individuals to access training.” 

The Working Minds resource list is available here

This article was first published in CIOB People.

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