Stress and poor mental health in the workplace

Safety Management Limited

In the 2017/18 financial year 15.4 million working days were lost due to work related stress, anxiety and depression, with over half a million workers reporting they were suffering due to work.

One in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point in their lives – with the most common conditions being anxiety and depression.

Work related stress, if prolonged, can cause both physical and psychological damage – including anxiety and depression.

Every employer wishes to avoid poor mental health in their workforce and would never want to be the cause of it, but what can be done and what, if any, legal requirements are there?

Every employer has a duty to protect their workers from foreseeable risks by carrying out a risk assessment and where required acting to eliminate or mitigate those risks.

Stress is a foreseeable risk. To help employers comply with the law the HSE offers guidance standards on work related stress.

Firstly, assess whether your organisation is at risk from stress.

This should be carried out using the following steps

Identifying what the stressors might be in your workplace – these are the Risks Decide who might be harmed by stress and how Evaluate the Risks Record your findings – develop and implement action plans Monitor and review

The HSE advise that by adopting their management standards (available free here) and making a policy commitment to manage stressors, employers are likely to be legally compliant.

To discuss this in some more details please call Gemma Dickinson on 01327 311300 or email