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News

Practical help to tackle stress at work welcomed

HSE InfoLine : 30 October, 2003  (Technical Article)
Opening the Conference to launch the guidance on tackling stress, Minister for Work, Des Browne, said: 'Over half a million people in the UK are currently experiencing work-related stress at a level they believe is making them ill. The Government is committed to working with business to tackle the problem, which currently costs our society about
A new practical guidance pack to enable employers and employees to develop solutions to workplace stress problems is being launched today in London.

Opening the Conference to launch the guidance on tackling stress, Minister for Work, Des Browne, said: 'Over half a million people in the UK are currently experiencing work-related stress at a level they believe is making them ill. The Government is committed to working with business to tackle the problem, which currently costs our society about 3.7 billion every year.

'The Government's approach is based on encouraging supportive organisational cultures where employers work with staff and their representatives to identify and address real employee concerns in a positive way. I am delighted that HSE has developed this practical tool which encourages people to get on with the serious business of facing up to addressing this widespread issue. I would encourage people to look at this as it does offer positive benefits for the individual, the business and Britain.'

The guidance, called Real solutions, real people, A managers' guide to tackling work-related stress, contains examples of clear, practical measures which provide a starting point for the workforce to agree how to tackle the findings of a stress risk assessment.

The guidance pack includes an introduction on how to use it, learning points, prompt cards, and an action plan to record and monitor what needs to be done.

Also launching the guidance, Bill Callaghan, Chair of the Health and Safety Commission said, 'The Health and Safety Commission wants workplace health and safety to be a cornerstone of a civilised society and is committed to ensuring that HSE's work remains relevant to the changing world and changing economy.

'Real solutions, real people provides a tool to help managers and staff develop solutions to tackle work-related stress that are specifically relevant to their organisation. It then encourages them to tailor their energy to the particular needs identified by risk assessment. The launch of this guidance today, and the innovative stress management standards pilot, already well underway, are fine examples of how the HSE is seeking to help organisations reduce the incidence of occupational ill health.'

The Real solutions, real people conference forms part of the HSC's Priority Programme on Stress. A key element of that programme is the development of clear, agreed standards of good management practice to prevent work-related stress. These standards are currently being piloted by 25 organisations, most of which were at the conference. The pilot process is now being evaluated, and the management standards will be revised and developed for further public consultation by HSE in Spring 2004.

Elizabeth Gyngell, Head of HSE's Better Working Environment Division said, 'The Real Solutions, Real People guide will help them to identify and introduce solutions targeted specifically at the causes of stress in their individual organisations. The guidance complements the risk assessment approach outlined in HSE's current guidance for managers about work-related stress 'Tackling work-related stress - A managers' guide to improving and maintaining employee health and well-being' (HSG218)'
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