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September 27, 2011

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Employers to benefit from stress-management roadmap

The stress profession is the latest in the occupational health and safety field to embrace the current vogue for accreditation.
The initial launch of a new package of stress management standards and a register of accredited practitioners has been described as a revolutionary development for the stress management profession. It is the third scheme of this type to launch in under a year, following those aimed at health and safety consultants (OSHCR), and occupational health service-providers (SEQOHS).
Driven by the International Stress Management Association (ISMAUK), in partnership with the British Standards Institution (BSI), a new stress-management framework applies three BSI Publicly Available Specifications – PAS 1010, 1011 and 1012 – to build a comprehensive standard of best practice in stress management.
The PAS 1010 organisational stress training programme covers the obligations for organisations set out by the HSE and EU. It teaches how to implement the PAS 1010 guidelines, how organisations should implement a risk assessment, and how to implement a policy on stress prevention.
PAS 1011 – Management Competencies & Standards covers both the HSE and EU stress management standards and guidelines on management competencies.  At the end of this course, which will be available next year, managers will have the knowledge to implement their organisation’s stress-prevention policy and understand their responsibilities in managing stress.
The third element, PAS 1012 – Resilience, Well-being and Returning to Work, is divided into two sections. Section one focuses on how to build resilience in the workplace and is designed to help the employee understand that they must take personal responsibility for their own well-being. A second section then lays out clear procedures for both the organisation and the service provider, and ensures that the service user is provided with an effective return-to-work programme.
The standards package is backed up by a new register for stress trainers – the Master Stress Management Practitioner Register. Following completion of the three PAS elements, trainers will be qualified to deliver stress management training to a recognised standard and their details will be included on a new register, which organisations and businesses can search.

Asked what impact the standards and the register could have on the health of the working-age population, a spokesperson for ISMAUK said: “It will reduce both absenteeism and presenteeism, and encourage well-being at work. It will also help with coping with bullying and harassment at work, while encouraging a positive, supportive and enabling culture.”
Working for Wellbeing has been contracted to administer the register and deliver the training, while ISMA independently accredits the training material. Eventually, the register will have its own dedicated website; for more details in the meantime, or to learn more about the course programme and course dates, contact: [email protected]

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