• Raising awareness about the growing problem with stress
and psychosocial risks
• Focus on the positive effects of successful psychosocial
risk management, including the business case
• Provide and promote the use of a simple and practical
tool and guidance for managing psychosocial risks and
stress in the workplace
• Over half of European workers report that stress is
common in their workplace.
• Around 4 in 10 workers think that stress is not handled
well in their workplace.
time pressure, excessive
demands, poor work
organisations, job insecurity,
role ambiguity, harassment,
violence, lack of influence,
lack of support, poorly-
change, conflicting demands
at work and home, etc
irritability, anxiety, low mood,
difficulty in concentrating,
learning new things, making
decisions, negative thinking
making errors, becoming
withdrawn or aggressive,
Physical and mental ill-
depression, burn-out, PTSD,
work demands are beyond
capacity to cope with them
organisational issue, not
Non work-related factors
major life events, serious illness, bereavement, etc
The negative effects for organisation:
– Poor overall business performance
– Increased absenteeism (about a half of all lost working days may
be related to stress)
– Presenteeism (coming to work when ill and not able to perform
– Increased accident and injury rates
– Increased risk of litigation
– High turnover
• Only about 30% of organisations in Europe have procedures in
place for dealing with psychosocial risks*
• Dealing with those risks is often considered as more difficult
compared to ‘traditional’ OSH risks (by 42% of managers)
• Psychosocial risks can be assessed and managed in the same
systematic way as other OSH risks.
• The benefits of managing psychosocial risks and work-related
stress outweigh the costs of implementation for organisations
* The European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER, 2010)
Psychosocial risks assessment
• Risk assessment for stress involves the same basic
principles and processes as for other workplace
- Raise awareness and ensure common understanding
- Identify hazards and those at risks
- Evaluate and prioritise risk
- Take action on preventive and corrective measures
- Document, monitor
The role of management
• Employers are responsible for implementing a plan to prevent
or reduce psychosocial risks
• Employers should enable and encourage workers to raise
concerns and suggestions
• Middle managers have a crucial role to play as they interact
with workers on a daily basis
• Implementing voluntary measures to promote mental well-
being can also make an important contribution to a healthy
• It is important that managers accept the employee’s perception
of the cause of their stress; this does not endorse or validate
the employee’s view
The importance of employee participation
• It is essential that workers are consulted and involved in
the process of managing psychosocial risks and stress
• Employees and their representatives have the best
understanding of problems in their workplace and can
help to shape planning and implement solutions
• A key component of the success of this approach is early
intervention and active participation from the employee
• The risk assessment can be completed with employees
who feel stressed and are at work
• If the employee is off work, the risk assessment must be
completed BEFORE a return to work is facilitated
Stress Action Plan - Guidance for Managers
Stress is defined as a normal physiological response of an individual to pressures, which exceed that individual’s ability to cope. Issues at work
or both can cause it. Stress is a symptom complex not a disease in itself, but if severe or prolonged it can lead to mental Ill-health, such as
Under section 2 of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, an employer has a duty to ensure the health, safety and well-being of his employees at
work. Implied in this is the duty to prevent both physical and psychological harm from work activities. This is now stated in the Management of
Health & Safety at work Regulations, which places a requirement on an employer to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the
hazards at work, including psychological hazards. The risk assessment must include:
Looking for pressures at work that could cause high or continuing levels of stress-there are eight key areas.
The nature of the job, work organisation, degree of control over the job, work environment. contractual arrangements, culture of the organisation,
organisational change and
The Occupational Health team can provide management with an assessment tool to identify potential psychological hazards at work
Deciding whether enough is being done to prevent harm-the effectiveness of controls
Making a written statement of what stressors have been identified: what practical steps will be taken to deal with these pressures: the lead person
responsible: the timescale for action and an assessment review date.
Since stress is currently one of the main risks to health and workers’ safety, a strategy is required that meets the workers needs and those of the
organisation. Action to reduce work-related stress need not be complicated, time consuming or expensive. Intervention is generally positive not
only for colleagues in terms of reduction of stress and improvement of health and well-being, but also for the function and success of the
organisation. This action plan will allow employees to identify their perceived stressors and management to document any action taken or reason
for inaction. It will also indicate a review date to facilitate audit of outcome of any intervention taken by management.
Outlined overleaf is a proposed Stress Management Action Plan. This can be used by managers to assess and monitor colleague’s perceived
stressors and what they would like to happen to remove or reduce the stress levels.
Risk assessment can be carried out as part of colleague’s performance review and one to one discussion.
This plan should be used in conjunction with any of the above interventions. To complete the action plan colleagues should follow the explanation
at the top of each column on how to complete each section. In the event of any questions please contact the OH team for help and advice.
Please note in many instances the cause of colleague’s stress may not be work-related. Nevertheless performing a Stress Management Action
Plan with the colleague may prove to be very worthwhile exercise in an attempt to define what reasonable practical steps the employer could take
to support the individual through a difficult time-a time when the individual’s ability to cope with the usual demands of employment may be
See over the page. Your team may wish to produce a document along the following lines.
Colleague’s perception of
What action colleague perceive
is needed to prevent stress?
Action Taken by management Reason for Management in
What colleague identifies as
issues causing them stress
What action colleague perceives
would remove or reduce their
What action can reasonably be
taken by management?
Explanation of reasons for any
Review date of assessment
and/or any comments regarding
Focus on the positive effects
• Improved workers' well-being and job satisfaction
• A healthy, motivated and productive workforce
• Improved overall performance and productivity
• Reduced absence and staff turnover rates
• Compliance with legal requirements
• Reduced costs and burden on society as a whole
Roles and Responsibilities
Senior Leaders are responsible for health & safety within their respective
business areas. As such their stress management duties are:
• Ensure Line Managers undertake Work-related Stress Risk
Assessments, and that these are regularly reviewed
Safeguard Documents - Source Management Procedure MP 22 Stress Policy
• Ensure sufficient time is spent clarifying what
the problem is – try and be as specific as
possible as it will help develop effective
• How did this area of work activity become a
problem? Has it always been a problem? If not,
what has changed?
• Is the problem a one-off? Is intervention really
required? How will the solution solve the
• How would the proposed solutions be
introduced? Who will implement them? What
will be the first tasks? How will you monitor
• Prioritise the implementation of solutions
according to the risk factor identified in the Risk
• How did this area of work
activity become a problem?
• Has it always been a
• If not, what has changed?
• Is the problem a one-off?
• Is intervention required?
• How will the solution solve the
• How would the proposed
solutions be introduced?
• Who will implement them?
• What will be the first tasks?
• How will you monitor
Stress Management Guidelines
When considering which solutions are appropriate, the following should be taken into account;
Completing the Risk Assessment
The steps for completing the risk assessment are as follows;
Step 1 - Identify the hazards
Step 2 – Decide who may be harmed and how
Step 3 – Evaluate the Risk and take Action
Step 4 – Record the findings
Step 5 – Review and revise
Likely to cause harm, current control measures are
Some risk to any member of staff, current control measures
are inadequate and should be improved within a fixed
No significant risk to members of staff, current control
measures are adequate.
Any workplace factor that contributes to an individual
being subject to excessive or prolonged pressure, or
other types of demand placed on them.
Categorised within 6 management standards :-
What has significant potential to cause
What issues have team members
What more can be done at a
local level to help?
Do any issues need
What is already in place to
manage these issues?
On balance, how significant are the
What support measures
are already in place to
manage these issues?