Work Organisation Hazards
Work can be incredibly stressful. Intense workload demands; a lack of control, respect or flexibility; and even violence, harassment and discrimination can all take a toll on employees’ health and wellbeing. These stressors are known as work organisation hazards.
Stress, depression and anxiety is now the number one cause of occupational ill health, accounting for 44% of new and long-standing work-related illnesses. It should therefore be a key component of any employers’ health and safety strategy.
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Workplace stress can have a significant impact on employees’ health, morale, work rate, attendance and working relationships. In turn, this can create a long list of problems for employers: excessive absences, long-term sickness, high turnover, difficulties recruiting and retaining staff, and even litigation by those affected by workplace stress.
Ellis Whittam can help you to assess risk and put measures in place to meet your responsibilities under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
- Assess how well you’re managing all workplace hazards, including adherence to the HSE’s stress management standards, through an on-site health and safety audit (General Risk Assessment)
- Equip managers and employees with stress management techniques through stress awareness training and e-Learning
- Document your arrangements with expert-created risk assessment templates, plus a robust Health & Safety policy containing a specific section on stress
- Get unlimited support from a dedicated Health & Safety Consultant, who will work with you to ensure safety and compliance in all risk areas
- Uncover and improve employees’ attitudes and perceptions in key health and safety areas with a bespoke culture survey
Not just a ‘nice to have’
Employers can often overlook stress, focusing instead on controlling physical safety hazards. However, given the various business implications of failing to manage employee wellbeing, it’s important that employers recognise signs of stress in staff and take proactive steps to remove or reduce the causes. This could be anything from unrealistic or last-minute deadlines to a lack of training or job insecurity. In many cases, stress can be attributed to a lack of support.
If this is a concern within your organisation, or you are keen to take positive action before problems arise, Ellis Whittam can help you to do meet your obligations under health and safety law and create engaged, high-performing teams.
Stress, depression and anxiety is the leading cause of working days lost due to ill health, responsible for 12.8 million working days lost.
Common work organisation queries and questions about our service, answered by our Health & Safety specialists.
What is meant by stress? After all, we all have bad days sometimes?
Stress is defined by the HSE as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them”.
In practice, stress affects people differently – what stresses one person may not affect someone else. Indeed, many workers benefit from a certain amount of pressure in their work; it can help to keep them motivated and give them a sense of achievement. However, when too much pressure is placed upon someone, they will become overwhelmed. Factors such as skills and experience, age and disability all impact a person’s ability to cope. A worker’s skill and knowledge should therefore be matched to the demands placed on them.
What are employers’ legal duties in respect to managing stress?
There is no one law specifically covering stress. Instead, protection comes from a range of sources. Common law dictates that employers are responsible for the general safety of their employees while at work. Statutory law such as the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states that employers must take reasonable steps to make sure workplaces are safe and healthy and control identified risks.
In addition, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to carry out a “suitable and sufficient” assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees. As an employer, you are required to put proper controls in place to avoid these risks, wherever possible. Where it is not possible to avoid risk, steps must be taken to reduce them so far as is “reasonably practicable”.
Do I need anything in place if I don’t think stress is a problem in my workplace?
All organisations should have an assessment for workplace stress and have measures in place to mitigate it. Stress is often not reported or recognised until staff start to suffer symptoms, so having systems in place to identify and deal with this early is important.
Do I need to consider work organisation hazards for staff currently working at home?
Yes, there is an increased risk of harmful effects from stress and anxiety for those working at home due to the pandemic. Your assessment should consider both physical hazards, such as those associated with work equipment, work station set-up and working alone, and mental health and wellbeing hazards, such as stress, isolation and fatigue.
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Audit and Inspection
From a procedure that isn’t being executed properly to a policy or risk assessment that’s out of date, we can conduct a thorough examination of your premises, practices and procedures to identify and remedy any areas where you’re exposed.
What form does the audit take?
There are a number of different models and templates for conducting health and safety audits. Most commonly, and the approach we adopt at Ellis Whittam, is what’s known as a General Risk Assessment (GRA). This is a systematic examination of your workplace to identify possible causes of harm, the likelihood and severity of that harm occurring given the safeguards already in place, and any further control measures needed to reduce risk to as low a level as is “reasonably practicable”.
Will you just provide a report of the issues identified?
No. The report will provide clear solutions and recommendations to address particular areas of concern. Unlike some providers, we won’t insert default ‘corrective action required’ responses unless it is absolutely clear what you need to do; we edit to provide clarity. Plus, if you have any questions or concerns, your dedicated Health & Safety Consultant will be more than happy to assist.
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Why choose us?
If you’re not confident in your current practices, or don’t have professional support in place, our network of qualified Health & Safety Consultants can help you to build a safe and compliant working environment through expert support tailored to your organisation.
- Approved by a Primary Authority
- Dedicated specialists with recognised qualifications
- Genuine hands-on experience of managing risk
- Unlimited 24/7 advice, award-winning software and policy support
- The confidence to act as one of your competent persons
Who you'll be working with
“I’ve taken Ellis Whittam into every organisation that I’ve worked with. I’ve introduced them to many teams and many colleagues and referred them with absolute pleasure because I genuinely trust in the service that we get.”
Debbie Jamieson, People Director
“We get a great deal of comfort and satisfaction knowing that we have support as and when we need it, in a decisive and responsive way.”
Richard Berry, Group HR Director
Bluestone National Park Resort
“What we recognised in Ellis Whittam is the background that they have. They are able to supply knowledge and experience in a number of disciplines, which enables us to develop our business in a way that’s safe, to do it on time and with a quality to it.”
Debbie Rainbow, Director of Human Resources and Health & Safety
“As the company started to get larger, we knew we had to protect our employees and our contractors both onsite and in the offices. Ellis Whittam is exactly what we needed to move the company forward.”
Joanne Beaver, Operations Director
“We have found Ellis Whittam to be responsive and aligned with our business in terms of our processes and expectations. Their pragmatic approach has proven to be a great fit – nobody wants to be fighting their adviser on basic employment decisions.”
Jonathan Green, COO
“Ellis Whittam supports our 280 staff members with Employment Law and Health & Safety and has provided quality management training too.”
Lisa Best, Head of Service Delivery
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