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HSE to pilot stress management standards in Education, NHS, and Prison sectors

Peter Brown, head of the HSE’s health and work programme, told IOSH’s National Safety and Health Conference that the pilots would evaluate the effectiveness of the standards, which were first published in 2004, in preventing and managing work-related stress in education, health and the prison service. 

The HSE plans to use the findings to develop sector-specific guidance that offers employers “tested” solutions to be rolled out across these sectors. The guidance will consider issues such as 24/7 connectivity, organisational justice and new technology.

The three two-year pilots, which form a key objective in the HSE’s stress work programme, will be carried out in 26 schools, one NHS board and a prison. 

The HSE Stress Management Standards provide a yardstick against which employers can gauge their performance in tackling stress at work. There are six standards: 

Demands 

The organisation will achieve this standard if employees indicate that they are able to cope with the demands of their job and systems are in place to respond to any individual concerns. 

Control 

The organisation achieves this standard if employees indicate that they are able to have a say about the way they do their work and systems are in place to respond to any individual concerns. 

Support 

The organisation achieves this standard if employees indicate that they receive adequate information and support from their colleagues and superiors and there are systems in place to respond to any individual concerns. 

Relationships 

The organisation achieves this standard if employees indicate that they are not subjected to unacceptable behaviour, e.g. bullying (at work) and systems are in place to respond to any individual concerns. 

Role 

The organisation achieves this standard if employees indicate that they understand their role and responsibilities and systems are in place to respond to any individual concerns. 

Change 

The organisation achieves this standard if employees indicate that the organisation engages them frequently when undergoing an organisational change and systems are in place to respond to any individual concerns. 

 

While the Standards have been widely promoted by the HSE and supported by many employee and health profession groups there has been very little published analysis of their effectiveness in practice.

However, those that have used the standards, and who have evaluated appear to show positive results. 

  • Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde NHS Foundation Trust reported that related interventions contributed to a 40 per cent reduction in cases of work-related stress. 
  • Aberdeen University reported that, after one year of implementing the standards, the average days lost per person due to stress reduced by 21 per cent. 
  • Scottish Power achieved an 11 per cent reduction in stress-related sickness absence. 

Pernix Safety Management supports the use of the HSE Management standards and actively work with our clients to seek practical measures of preventing and reducing stress in the workplace. Call us now more details on who we can help your organisation 01733 331300 / 07597793626

IOSH 
Pernix Safety Management - Director – Alan Hurst C.M.I.O.S.H
Registered Office – Peterborough, Cambs, PE3 6FB
Contact 01733 331300 / 07597 793 626 enquiries@pernix-safety.co.uk
 
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