The HSE has this month launched their Working Minds campaign to highlight a “health & safety crisis” in Great Britain’s workplaces. Work-related stress and poor mental health is something that is becoming all too common in these sometimes difficult to navigate times and while the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be understood, it is still the number one reason for sick days in the UK. More than 17 million working days were lost as a result of stress, anxiety or depression and the mental health charity MIND has indicated that two in five employees mental health had worsened during these times.
The HSE Campaign aims to help businesses recognise the signs of work-related stress and make tackling issues routine. HSE’s chief executive Sarah Albon said: “Work-related stress and poor mental health should be treated with the same significance as risks of poor physical health and injury. In terms of the affect it has on workers, significant and long-term stress can limit performance and impact personal lives. Sarah Added “Our campaign is focused on giving employers a clear reminder of their duties while championing reducing work-related stress and promoting good mental health at work.”
HSE is reminding businesses that no matter where people work, employers have a legal duty to assess the risks in the workplace, not just in terms of potential hazards and physical safety, but also to promote good working practices. This promotes an open environment where employees can share their concerns and discuss options to ease pressures.
Working Minds is aimed specifically at supporting small businesses by providing employers and workers with easy to implement advice, including simple steps in its ‘5 R’s’ to:
- Reach Out
- Make it ‘Routine’
You can find tools and more supporting information on the Working Minds Website at:
HSE Working Minds – Make It Routine
What you need to know about stress in the workplace and what actions do you need to take as an employer?
Employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it.
If you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write anything down. But it is useful to do this, so you can review it later, for example if something changes. If you have five or more employees, you are required by law to write the risk assessment down.
Any paperwork you produce should help you communicate and manage the risks in your business. This does not need to be a big exercise – just note the main points about the significant risks and what you decided.
Remember that BWF Members have free access to Risk assessments you can download and adapt for your business and access to our Health & Safety manual here:
BWF Health & Safety Publications – Members Area
Here at the British Woodworking Federation we understand that these can be very trying times for our members and we need to remember that we all may need support from time to time. In the days of “leave your problems at the door” was respected in all workplaces, the extra pressures and challenges of a much faster paced, always connected world make this sometimes, near impossible. We would encourage all members to take the time to at least look at the HSE’s toolkit for their Working Minds campaign to see how it can support you in supporting your colleagues mental health.
– Stevie Taylor