Did you know that the law requires Employers to assess the potential risk from work related stress if they have more than five staff? If the answer is no, don’t worry you are not alone. In my experience not many Employers are aware of this and don’t have anything in place.
It is important that we make an all year around commitment to mental health. A recent Deloitte report estimated that the total annual cost of poor mental health to employers, has increased by 25% since 2019.
Employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it.
Whilst you are not legally required to write anything down if you have less than five staff, I would still advise that you do. It is a useful way to record, communicate, take any action and review to see if anything changes.
The best way to record your findings is by using a risk assessment template, for a free template, contact us here.
The HSE have what they call the Management Standards that is a really helpful approach to help simplify risk assessment for work related stress. An Employer is able to identify the main risk factors and then focus on the underlying cause and their prevention.
They cover six key areas of work design, that if not properly managed, are associated with poor health, lower productivity and increased accident and sickness absence rates;
- Demands – this includes issues such as workload, work patterns and the work environment
- Control -how much say the person has in the way they do their work
- Support – this includes the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues
- Relationships – this includes promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour
- Role – whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles
- Change – how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation
This does not have to be a huge task and can be completed quite quickly, but HSE would advise that you take these steps;
-Prepare your business and communicate what you are doing
Step 1 – Identify the risk factors
Step 2 – Who can be harmed and why
Step 3- Evaluate the risks
Step 4 – Record your findings
Step 5 – Monitor and review
You do not have to follow the Management standards approach, however it is recommended by HSE and if completed properly will be considered suitable and sufficient.