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November 30, 2023

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New online learning tool launched by HSE to help address work-related stress

An online learning tool designed to prevent work-related stress has been launched this month by the HSE as part of its Working Mind’s campaign. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has encouraged businesses to sign-up to its free-to-use interactive tool, designed for employers to use as guidance to meet their legal duties and understand how to include stress in their workplace risk assessments.

Legal duties

Credit: Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Created as part of HSE’s Working Minds campaign, which aims to promote good mental health in the workplace, the new tool is made up of six modules. These are said to take employers through relatable, everyday scenarios, such as how to recognise the signs of stress in individuals and teams like regular lateness to work, being withdrawn and higher staff turnover.

Liz Goodwill, Head of Work-Related Stress Policy at HSE, said: “More than half of small and medium sized (SME) businesses recently visited by HSE knew they had a legal duty to assess the risk of work-related stress, but the number who actually did this was significantly lower. This new online tool will help employers understand the steps and actions necessary to help bridge this gap. It is a much needed solution.

“Lack of time, money and know-how are common reasons why businesses can struggle to prevent and proactively tackle the issue. Now, they have a resource that provides free learning which is simple and engaging and does not take a huge amount of time to complete.

“Businesses will come away with an understanding of what the law requires of employers and what actions they need to take. It provides an opportunity for employers to refresh their existing knowledge and help drive the culture change that the Working Minds campaign is aiming to achieve. I encourage them to give it a go.”

Carry out risk assessments on work-related stress

HSE-logoHSE say the law requires both small businesses and large corporations to carry out a stress risk assessment and act upon the findings to prevent work related stress and support good mental health in the workplace.

Working Minds helps employers follow five steps based on risk assessment, including:

  • To reach out and have conversations
  • Recognise the signs and causes of stress
  • Respond to any risks identified
  • Reflect on actions agreed and taken
  • Make it Routine

The regulator says it ‘needs to become the norm to talk about stress’.

Since 2019, the total annual cost of poor mental health has increased by 25%, costing UK employers up to £56 billion a year. Over half of working days are lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Stress, depression and anxiety are the number one reasons for work-related illness in the UK and figures continue to rise.

Liz Goodwill, added: “The Mental health and employers report from Deloitte suggests employers see a return of £5.30 on average for every £1 invested in staff wellbeing. By providing this free learning, our aim is to help lower the investment cost and assist employers to reap the potential benefits including increased productivity, lower absenteeism and reduced staff turnover.”

The tool can be found 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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