Workplace Stress Analysis

What is this ?

This is the first step in the model. It is based on the HSA/HSE’s work positive framework and will cover the following areas

Demands Includes issues like workload, work pattern and work environment.
Control How much say a person has in the way they do their work.
Support Includes encouragement and resources provided at all levels
Relationships How is conflict and unacceptable behaviour managed
Role Do people understand their roles and do people have conflicting roles
Change How change is managed and communicated

The analysis will include Identifying the hazards, Deciding who might be harmed and how, Evaluating the risks and deciding what needs to be done, Recording your findings and Monitoring and reviewing progress

Why bother running a workplace stress risk assessment?

The legal case: Preventing litigation

The law is clear : “an employer must take all reasonable steps to protect an employee from risks or hazards to health and safety in the course of his employment that are reasonably foreseeable in all the circumstances of the case”

The last decade has seen a massive increase in case-law and judgements from the courts in the area of work place stress. Many of the cases that show us how the law deals with these claims are about workload and resources.

Now, more than ever, in light of their developing and increasingly sophisticated attitude to work related stress, the courts are more likely to hold that a reasonable and prudent employer will have an assessment in writing specifically relating to work related stress. Therefore an employer who does so and implements it effectively may find the likelihood of being found responsible for work related stress and consequent claims greatly diminished. This is the case in Irish courts as they move along the same path as their UK counterparts in their consideration that work related stress is an environmental risk that can be identified and prevented like any other.

The business case: Tackling stress brings business benefits

Research has shown work-related stress to have adverse effects for organisations in terms of:

  • Employee commitment to work
  • Staff performance and productivity
  • Staff turnover and intention to leave
  • Attendance levels
  • Staff recruitment and retention
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Organisational image and reputation
  • Potential litigation

It is estimated that these issues cost the Irish economy €100million per year.

It is also worth thinking about the impact that work-related stress could have on your unit or team. For example, losing one colleague for an extended period with a stress-related illness can have a dramatic impact on the workload and morale of the rest of the team.

By taking action to tackle the causes of stress in your workplace, you can prevent or significantly reduce the impact of these problems on your organisation.

The human case: Corporate Social Responsibility

There is now convincing evidence that prolonged periods of stress, including work-related stress, have an adverse effect on health. Research provides strong links between stress and

  • physical effects
    such as heart disease, back pain, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances or various minor illnesses; and
  • psychological effects
    such as anxiety and depression

Stress can also lead to other behaviours that are harmful to health, such as skipping meals, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, or smoking. Tackling the causes of stress before they lead to ill health can prevent this from happening.

How long will the analysis take ?

Analysis will be run over a 4 week period. This would typically involve one day on site per week.

If you are reading this while you are at your place of work. Ask yourself these simple questions:

  1. Are my employees healthy happy and here?
  2. If not, why not?
  3. What does this cost my business?