The law requires you to actively manage the workplace to try and prevent accidents and ill-health before they happen. The same principles apply to controlling potential causes of work-related stress. The process of risk assessment, as well as being required by law, provides a simple and effective method for preventing the day-to-day pressure of work from becoming excessive.
Having identified potential causes of stress in the workplace, employers must implement measures to prevent them causing harm to employee health, by:
- Undertaking a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk to employee health
- Developing and implementing preventative measures to control the causes of stress
- Providing information to employees on the nature of the potential causes of stress and the measures you have taken to control them
- Recording the risk assessment and keeping a written copy of it (if your organisation has five or more employees)
- Not requiring employees to work more than 48 hours per week unless they provide a written opt-out from this requirement
- Provide employees with 5.6 weeks paid leave per year (including bank holidays) and regular rest breaks during their working shift.
There are a number of measures that employers can implement to help prevent work-related stress:
- Develop standard processes for completing, reviewing and recording risk assessments
- Ensure risk assessment processes reflect the HSE Management Standards guidance, or provide an equivalent approach
- Provide information, training, and instruction to managers to raise awareness of how to manage work-related stress
- Implement a policy on working hours and monitor employees working hours against this policy
To find out more about risk assessment, download the full guide.