People experience different levels of stress almost every day. Emotional and physical reactions to job environments can equally lead to stress. Nearly 70% of Irish employees experienced some form of work-related stress in the last year.
Causes for workplace stress can range from disputes between employees and supervisors to demands for workplace production. A mixture of high pressures and low controls over results are common drivers of work-related stress.
Many employees are likely to struggle with stress alone. However, employers have a legal duty to safeguard the safety, health, and welfare of their workers. You can identify and minimise anxiety and stress by introducing workplace stress risk assessments.
Read about what considerations you’ll need for work related stress risk assessments. And how assessments for occupational health risks are vital for employee welfare.
What causes workplace stress?
There are many ways to define stress. According to the Health and Safety Authority, stress is a “negative experience/ feeling, associated with new physical symptoms”. The symptoms can lead to psychological and physiological impacts.
It's a common belief that work pressures can have a positive and challenging influence on workers. However, the build-up of stress can raise mental and physical strains.
Every employee will have specific professional and personal risk factors. We can class some factors as:
- Stress from task specifications: like huge workloads, insufficient time for completion, or performing jobs monotonously.
- Stress from work relationships: like poor teamwork ethics, lone-working, or bullying and harassment in the workplace.
- Stress from working conditions: like workplace accidents, exposure to hazards, or even dealing with illnesses and deaths.
Workplace stress risk assessment template
Ireland’s Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires employers to have workplace health and safety policies in place.
It is your legal duty to protect employees from stress and potential hazards which could cause ailments. You can identify mental and physical hazards through stress risk assessments.
Stress at work risk assessments normally follows the same structure as other occupational health stress risk assessments. The order follows:
- Identify and assess workplace stress risks.
- Draw up control measures for the risks.
- Implement measures into your health and safety policy.
- Review the control measures with a performance evaluation.
You can use a workplace stress risk assessment template to keep a report for stress hazards and help manage workplaces stress. Consider the following steps:
- Who might be affected by workplace stress? How are they affected?
- What are your workplace stress management standards already in place?
- What further measures do you need to help control and reduce workplace stress?
- Who needs to carry out the risk assessment?
What can employers do to address stress in their workplace?
There are many ways employers can manage workplace stress proactively. You should consider the importance of mental wellbeing, self-help, stress management training and counselling services.
As workplace stress can come in many forms, aim to ‘manage – control – reduce’ stress in certain tasks and environments.
If employees are affected by loud noise pollution, you can implement control measures to deal with noise levels. If employees are experiencing pain from repetitive tasks, you can reshape working procedures and reduce strenuous movements.
Employers can tackle workplaces stress through these methods:
- Treat all employees in a respectful and fair manner.
- Take stress seriously and be aware of symptoms and triggers.
- Encourage line managers to have an understanding attitude.
- Provide workplace health and wellbeing programmes and promote positive mental health attitudes.
- Reshape tasks to have a balanced workload. And provide support for job expectations.
Get advice for workplace stress risk assessments with Peninsula
The workplace itself can be one of the biggest contributing factors to stress. So, it’s vital to root out and address workplace stress risks effectively. Focusing on employee welfare will lead to a positive effect on business productivity and workforce morale.
Peninsula Ireland offers expert employment wellbeing advice. We can help you with workplace stress risk assessment forms, wellbeing training, and safety policies perfect for your business.
We also provide an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) with information for health and safety stress risk assessments and employee wellbeing management.
Peninsula Ireland clients get access to 24/7 HR consultation with our employment specialists. And if you are not yet a client, you can still enjoy free advice from one of our business experts. Simply call us on 0333 272 5772.