Don’t get stressed out in your workplace in 2017
Sheila Pantry OBE
The UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) has just published a new guide entitled Tackling workplace stress using the HSE Stress Management Standards – produced with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – to help trade union health and safety representatives tackle workplace stress.
Last year 7 in 10 respondents to a TUC survey of more than 1,000 health and safety representatives identified stress as the top concern in their workplace. As a result the TUC has issued this handbook, which will help union representatives work with employers to find practical solutions to work-related stress.
The guide is based on the HSE ‘management standards’ in handling stress. It breaks down the causes of work-related stress into six key areas:
- demands: issues like workload, work pattern and environment
- control: how much say someone has over the way in which they work
- support: available resources, line management and colleagues
- relationships: dealing with unacceptable behaviour and promoting positive working
- role: if the person understands their role at work and does not have conflicting roles
- change: how organisational change – large or small – is communicated.
The handbook proposes that a group – made up of representatives from across every level of the organisation – gathers information on the current situation in the workplace and carries out a risk assessment based on the HSE standards.
The group can then identify practical proposals for change that could make a real difference, such as tackling a long hours working culture, improving workplace practices or increasing staffing levels.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Workers are increasingly suffering from the effects of workplace stress as pressures of long hours and low job security are taking hold across the UK. But it’s in no-one’s interest to have an overstretched workforce, as anxious staff are less productive and are more likely to take time off. And the HSE standards provide the best way of tackling the issue.
“Union representatives have a key role to play in working with employers to tackle this problem once and for all. Stress is preventable if workers have reasonable workloads, supportive managers and a workplace free from violence, bullying and harassment.
“Anyone worried about their workload or being unfairly treated at work should join a union, to get the support they need and their interests represented at work.”
The new TUC and HSE guide is available at https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/tacking%20workplace%20stress%20without%20edits.pdf
The findings of the TUC’s health and safety rep survey are available at https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/focusonhealthsafetyreport.pdf
Do whatever you can to ensure that all workers have a safer and healthier workplace in 2017.
Update your 2017 diary with training for workers at all levels
Whether you are a manager, safety representative, supervisors check out the training needed in your workplace. Look at the latest additions to the Diary of Events and you will see plans have been made already worldwide for 2017 and beyond to have training courses, symposiums, webinars and conferences in many places in the world on a wide range of subjects.
Do not put off training for yourself and your staff. In these days of tighter budgets perhaps training may be put on the “back-burner” – but think again how you can keep up with the latest techniques and training opportunities.
Remember that even if you cannot attend these many events, speakers and organisers are often willing to share their knowledge. Look at the details – where possible, we add in the web sites of these events so you can request further information. And do let me know if you are organising any OSHE events so that I can add them to the OSHWORLD Diary.
This month’s OSHWORLD FOCUS is entitled Batteries that put out their own fires.
OSHWORLD – your portal to some great OSH web sites in the world
Wherever you are in the world have a look at your health, safety, chemical, fire and environment procedures in your workplace and update them. Your review may also indicate training requirements and re-thinking how systems and services can be improved. This is where the free-of-charge OSHWORLD can help you.
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An invaluable resource for students, lecturers, trainers, health and safety professionals and others with a general interest in industrial history, the site sets out developments from the 1802 Factory Act all the way through to the most recent regulatory changes made by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Don’t work harder – work smarter! Be ahead of the game.
Well did you have a zero accident, incident-free and healthy year in 2016 in your workplace? Some would argue that this is not possible! But keep on trying again in 2017!
And do continue to make plans for your campaigns for 2017 and beyond!