Work-related stress: what the says is the result of a 2 year research study into the present law and the ownership and promotion of national policy. The study, which was published in Occupational Health at Work journal in February 2009, involved a combination of qualitative and quantitative research studies, including semi-structured interviews with 31 leading stakeholders in policy and practice.
The study examined options for reform of the law including the need for further regulation and/or the creation of a specific approved code of practice (ACoP) for work-related stress. It identified a possible model of reform built around a ’3+1′ structure (pictured right) for regulation or ACoP, incorporating 3 ‘input’ steps setting out the steps employers should take to identify, prevent and protect employees from stress, and 1 ‘output’ step that provides redress for individuals who suffer harm to health if these steps aren’t taken. The structure incorporated previous research undertaken for HSE that provided a case definition for stress, using indicators such as individual experiences, unreasonable exposure to psychosocial hazards, psychological ill-health, affected work behaviour or GP visits, and the absence of other factors.
The study went on to examine changing the present model of ownership and promotion of national policy on stress by the HSE. It advocated a more collaborative model incorporating a wider range of stakeholders from employer and employee representatives as well as human resources, health and safety and occupational health professionals.
The themes of this research are carried through to Work-related stress: what the law says. The structure of the guide mirrors the ’3+1′ model developed in the study, providing a simple framework for explaining the law to employers. The document is collaboratively owned across the four major stakeholders involved in promotion of national policy.
You can read more about this research project in the Occupational Health at Work journal article available here