Tackling workplace stress
Labour & European Law Review Weekly Issue 505 01 February 2017
The TUC has published a new guide to help trade union health and safety representatives tackle workplace stress.
Produced in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the handbook is based on the HSE ‘management standards’ in handling stress. It is designed to help union safety representatives to encourage their employer to work with them to implement the HSE approach to managing work-related stress.
The guidance provides a background to the problem of stress; outlines what the Management Standards are; says what reps and their employers can do; explains the process to follow; gives advice on how to build knowledge; and tells reps where to go for additional information.
The guide breaks down the causes of work-related stress into six key areas:
- demands: issues like workload, work pattern and environment
- control: how much say someone has over the way in which they work
- support: available resources, line management and colleagues
- relationships: dealing with unacceptable behaviour and promoting positive working
- role: if the person understands their role at work and does not have conflicting roles
- change: how organisational change – large or small – is communicated.
The handbook proposes that employers set up groups of representatives from across every level of the organisation to gather information on the current situation in the workplace and carry out a risk assessment based on the HSE standards.
These groups can then identify practical proposals for change that could make a real difference, such as tackling a long hours working culture, improving workplace practices or increasing staffing levels.
Launched in 2004 following extensive development and piloting, the TUC says that the standards are an effective tool for assisting organisations to identify the causes of work-related stress and implement practical solutions to manage the risks.
Gerard Airey, of Thompsons Solicitors, commented “This is a really useful piece of guidance for health and safety representatives. I think it would be particularly useful if representatives drew attention to the proposal that employers set up groups of representatives from across every level of the organisation to gather information on the current situation in the workplace and carry out a risk assessment based on the HSE standards.”
To read the guidance, go to: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/tacking-workplace-stress-guide.pdf