Stress Awareness Week 2021 - Employers
Nov 2 2021 10:03AM
The employer has a legal duty to protect employees, and this includes matters such as work-related stress. As an employer by assessing, identifying and managing work related stress within the workplace it can provide a better understanding of the potential underlying causes and can minimise the risk to the employee’s health and wellbeing.
What are the signs of stress?
If an employees behaviour changes, as well as their physical and phycological wellbeing, this can be signs that they are stressed. If the pressure is short term, then individuals may show signs and symptoms of stress, but as soon as the pressure is relieved the worry goes away. However, if the pressure increases or continues then what was relatively minor symptoms of stress can escalate into physical and/or mental ill health.
Some signs and symptoms that individuals have may be similar to other conditions and so conversations should occur to get to the root cause of the issue. Some of the signs and symptoms of stress are outlined below:
|Physiological effects:||Physical effects||Behavioural effects|
|Increased anxiety||Increased heart rate||Irritability|
|Feeling unable to cope with everyday tasks||Increaded sweating||Increased alcohol intake|
|Low self-esteem||Headaches and diziness||Erratic sleep patterns|
|Depression||Blurred visions||Poor concentrations|
|Lowered resistance to infection||Feeling of inability to cope with everyday tasks|
What Control Measures Can be Implemented to Minimise the Risk of Stress in the Workplace?
The HSE Management Standards for stress at work sets out a positive culture of an organisation where stress is being managed effectively. Based on the six main stress factors, each of these standards defines a best practice and control measures that need to be achieved in order to minimise the risk of stress in the workplace.
- Demands: Is the employee able to cope with the demands of the job?
- Control: Are employees able to have a say in the way they do their work?
- Support: Are employees receiving adequate information and support from colleagues and superiors?
- Relationships: Are employees able to indicate that they are not subjected to unacceptable behaviours?
- Role: Do employees understand their roles and responsibilities?
- Change: Can employees indicate that the organisation engages them when undergoing organisational changes?
As well as the six specific factors above, general controls such as policies and procedures for workplace stress, risk assessments, training, and promoting general health and well-being through occupational health practitioners, conselling support or assistance programmes can all be implemented.
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