Content Coordinator, SHP Online

May 11, 2017

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Mental health is being “left out” of the conversation

A leading safety consultant has said that mental health is being left out of the health and safety conversation.

Paul Makoff-Clark, managing director at Kent Safety Solutions, a quality, health, safety and environmental (QHSE) consultancy, warned that employers are failing to consider the impact of mental health as part of their health and safety procedures, despite the significant number of working days lost due to stress and other mental health-related issues.

Although there is a legal requirement for organisations to have health and safety procedures in place, many employers focus just on the safety aspect when implementing policies and carrying out risk assessments, he claims.

Time lost due to mental health

Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) indicate there were approximately 12 million days lost due to stress, depression and anxiety in 2015/16.

Paul Makoff-Clark said: “Mental health, particularly stress, is being left out of health and safety processes such as risk assessments. With many credit-crunch roles remaining unfilled and one person taking on additional responsibilities along with time-fixed deadlines so prevalent in many industries, especially construction, work-related stress is responsible for a phenomenal number of days lost due to absence.”

His comments follow the national launch Mental Health Awareness Week which this year focuses on thriving with good mental health.

Mental health ignored

Makoff-Clark added: “The HSE has excellent – and free – tools for testing and monitoring stress at work, yet these tools are sadly underutilised.

“Sadly, mental health is still not embedded in an organisation’s everyday thinking – it’s just not considered in risk assessments. Very few employers are asking, ‘how do I avoid damaging my employees’ mental health because of workplace stress?’ and they absolutely should be.”

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from the 8-14 May 2017. You can find resources for the week here.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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