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PRACTICAL HELP TO TACKLE STRESS AT WORK

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A new practical guidance pack to enable employers and employees to ...
A new practical guidance pack to enable employers and employees to

develop solutions to workplace stress problems has been launched

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 £3.7bn 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. I t 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)'

Six of the case studies from Real solutions, real people (one for

each of the six stress areas will be available on HSE's website at

here. The publication itself, which includes

instructions on how to use the pack, further guidance on risk

assessment and prompt cards for managers to use in meetings with

their teams, will be available from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury,

Suffolk CO10 2WA, or Tel. 01787 881165, or at this website,

priced £20.00 for an introductory period of six months and then

£25.00.

NOTES

1. The Hea lth and Safety at Work Act (1974) places a general

duty of care on employers to protect the health and safety of their

employees. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations

(1999) also requires employers to carry out a risk assessment

involving the health, safety and welfare of their staff.

2. The Real solutions, real people guide is based on examples of good

practice gathered by HSE's Priority Programme Team, in particular the

findings of a research report funded by HSE and published on 23 July

2003 (Beacons of Excellence in Stress Prevention, RR133- HSE Press

Release ref E142:03).

3. The new guidance will cover each of the stressor areas identified

in HSE's publication 'Tackling work-related stress - A managers'

guide to improving and maintaining employee health and

well-being'(HSG218). These are:

Demands

Control

Support

Role

Relationships

Change

4. HSE's draft Management Standards relate to the six main stressors

outlined above. For information on progress with the Management

Standards pilot, please see HSE's stress pages here.

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