Why do businesses need a stress risk assessment?

Today, many of the UK’s businesses are facing absenteeism, presenteeism, reduced productivity and high staff turnover due to mental health issues. In fact, three in five UK employees have had mental health issues due to work*.

As all employers have a duty of care obligation to look after the health and safety of staff, including their wellbeing, a stress risk assessment is vital. We’ve designed this guide to help you create an effective stress risk assessment for your business.

How to use this guide

As every business is unique, we’ve created a risk assessment template that you can use as a framework. Simply remove, add, or change points, to customise it for your business. Our example is for a company-wide stress risk assessment, however you could adapt it for a team or individual.

Download the template

Getting started

Here are five steps to creating a company-wide stress risk assessment.

  1. Identify the stress risk factors in your organisation

    Start by making an assessment of the business, team or individual. You can collect information in a range of different ways. If you are assessing an individual, you could ask a series of questions in a one-to-one meeting, as well as check sickness records, or any referrals to occupational health.

    For a team or the wider business, you can talk to staff as well as check sources including surveys, sickness data, staff turnover, exit interviews and referrals to occupational health. If you are assessing a team, you may also wish to cross reference your observations against other departments across the organisation.

  2. Categorise the issues

    To create an effective and accessible risk assessment, it is helpful to put your stress risk factors into categories. The HSE Management Standards have already identified six key stress factors in the workplace. These form the basis of our risk assessment template.

    The factors are:

    • Role – whether people understand their role and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles.
    • Demands – including issues such as work patterns, workload, and the work environment.
    • Control – how much say the person has in the way they do their work.
    • Relationships – this includes promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
    • Support – including encouragement, sponsorship and the resources provided by the organisation.
    • Change – how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation.

    We’ve added example issues into each category to give you an idea of what to consider.

  3. Decide what actions can be taken

    Once you’ve identified the key issues in your business, you will need to outline actions to overcome them. If you are assessing teams or the wider business, you may wish to do this alongside the senior management and HR team. For an individual, you may wish to work on an action plan together. We have provided some examples in our template.

  4. Assign responsibility

    You can now assign a person to each of the actions you’ve outlined. You may select a line manager, a team member, HR, your senior management team, or multiple people across your business. Talk to the relevant people about their responsibilities and agree deadlines for implementation.

  5. Monitor and review your risk assessment

    We recommend that you review your risk assessment on a regular basis, to ensure it’s working effectively. Over time, you may find that you’ll need to make changes, add new issues and remove others.

*Business in the Community Mental Health at Work Report 2017

Template download

Download our mental health risk assessment template.

Mental Health Risk Assessment Template

Mental Health Risk Assessment resource download

As every business is unique, we’ve created a Mental Health Risk Assessment template that you can use as a framework. ...

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