What is a Stress Risk Assessment?

02nd December 2019

Work-related stress is one of the most common health hazards in the workplace, usually caused by excessive workloads or pressure placed on employees. Whilst small amounts of workplace stress is normal, some cases of extreme or ongoing stress can impact the productivity, health and wellbeing of individuals and leave them unable to cope.

It isn’t always straight forward to identify employees suffering from workplace stress. People may not feel comfortable to openly talk about their problems and often keep them to themselves – making the stress even harder to deal with. This is why stress risk assessments should be an important part of your company’s occupational health and wellbeing programme.

What is a stress risk assessment?

A stress risk assessment is a process of examining stressors within the workplace that could cause staff to suffer or find difficult to handle. This will enable employers to identify the nature and extent of the risks posed and then put in place appropriate preventative strategies to address the risks in a reasonable and practical way.

Why undertake a stress risk assessment?

By law, employers must manage stress in the workplace in the same way as other health and safety risks – and the most efficient way to do this is by a stress risk assessment. The specific duty of employers under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 is to identify, eliminate or reduce risks to employees health, safety and welfare where reasonably practical.

Managing stress effectively in the workplace can also have huge benefits for businesses. According to the HSE, stress, depression or anxiety, and musculoskeletal disorders account for the majority of lost working days due to work-related ill-health – which is a staggering 9.9 million days per year. Stress leave leads to an average of 23 days off work, which is lost time, productivity and money. A stress risk assessment is a good way of tackling the issue of workplace stress before it becomes a bigger problem.

How is a stress risk assessment carried out?

Each individual is assessed separately and confidentially with a questionnaire. The questions cover the Management Standard set out by the HSE which include the six key areas of primary sources of stress at work :

  • Control – how much say the employee has in their work
  • Demands – work patterns, workload, and environment
  • Relationships – positive working, conflict, behaviour
  • Support – encouragement, sponsorship, resources, line management and colleagues
  • Change – organisational change and communication
  • Role – understanding their role and others

These findings will then be monitored and reviewed to determine any employees potentially at risk, which can then be actioned into helping that individual, and the team as a whole.

How to deal with stress in the workplace

With the outcome of the risk assessment, you will be able to take the steps to prevent and reduce the stressors which employees may be experiencing. You will be guided on how to manage the next steps, these most commonly cover things like:

  • Encouraging positive relationships – between colleagues and management
  • Flexible working
  • Workload reduction or support – prioritising and organising
  • Tackling unresolved workplace issues
  • Offering positive feedback and appreciation
  • Variety within job roles
  • Further training in particular areas

Why choose David Barber OH to carry out your stress risk assessment?

We are a team of experienced professionals in the health and safety field, and take the wellbeing of your employees very seriously. By investing in our Workplace Health and Wellbeing program, we can carry out a stress risk assessment and help you tackle the issues of stress in your workforce. This will mean you will have a team of employees with a higher job satisfaction, mental stability and generally happier both inside and outside of the workplace. Find out more about our service by getting in touch today.

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