The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) recently championed a campaign to raise awareness about stress and its impact on adults aged over 18 in the UK.
At the heart of the campaign were the results from one of the largest ever on-line polls in relation to stress in the UK. The survey of 4,619 adults resulted in a report entitled “Stress: Are we coping?”
According to the report, issues surrounding work is one of the many contributing factors underlying episodes of stress experienced by adults. This type of stress is commonly known as “work related stress”.
The findings from the report also indicated that of those surveyed:
- A third of adults (32%) got stressed by thinking about work in their personal time;
- Whilst 23% compromised their health to get work done; and
- Workplace stress caused 16% of the adults to compromise their relationships.
The report makes a number of recommendations for employers, employees and the Government on how to manage and reduce work related stress and stress in general.
Two proposals made by the report, which potentially may shape how businesses deal with workplace risk assessments in the future are:
- Increased enforcement measures in respect of breaches of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which result in psychological detriment to employees; and
- The introduction of two annual mental health leave days for every public sector worker. This proposal is also encouraged for the private and third sectors (including voluntary and community organisations).
Typically workplace risk assessments would focus on physical hazards. However, given the momentum for a change in attitude towards “societal stress”, employers may now consider it good practice to pay close attention to potential psychological hazards (i.e. potential for work related stress) in the workplace ahead of the implementation of the recommendations.
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"Government and the Health & Safety Executive must ensure that employers treat physical and psychological hazards in the workplace equally and help employers recognise and address psychological hazards in the workplace under existing legislation."