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May 3, 2011

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New guidance to help fill stress void

A new standard to help organisations assess and manage the risks associated with work-related stress has been introduced.

The Publicly Available Specification (PAS 1010), published by the British Standards Institute (BSI), should be a significant aid to employers in an area of workplace health that still lacks a recognised standard, or official benchmark for good practice.

Psychosocial risks at work are a major cause of stress, which is reported to affect more than 40 million workers in the EU each year, costing business an estimated €20 million.

Both the standard and accompanying training courses to be developed by Nottingham University will benefit occupational health and safety managers, HR managers, therapists, managers and owners of SMEs.

The PAS is most likely to be used by organisations that wish to:

  • establish a strategy and process to manage the psychosocial risks associated with its activities, and protect workers and others who could be exposed to such hazards;
  • implement, maintain and continually improve the psychosocial risk-management process and related practices; and
  • assure itself of its conformity with its stated occupational health and safety (OH&S) and psychosocial risk policy.

The steering group responsible for the development of PAS 1010 included representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the HSE, the PRIMA-EF consortium, Nottingham University, the European Commission, and several other European and international occupational health and safety organisations.

Evelyn Kortum, of WHO, commented: “The development of a standard in psychosocial risk management will provide a welcome basis for policy development in traditional and emerging risks affecting the modern workplace.”

According to the protocol for Publicly Available Specifications, the PAS should be reviewed after two years when a decision will be made as to whether it should be taken forward to become a formal British Standard.

For more information on PAS 1010, visit

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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