Writing a stress risk assessment

Why do businesses need a stress risk assessment?

Recent data from AXA UK and Centre for Business and Economic Research (Cebr) reveals that people struggling with burnout and work-related stress is a significant issue for the UK economy, with an estimated £28bn lost in 2022 due to poor mental health at work. Most of this is due to an increase in sick days because of stress, burnout and general poor mental health, with businesses losing 23.3m working days as a result of these issues.

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What is stress?

Stress is an adverse reaction to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed on workers. You can reduce the stress levels of your team by matching demands to individuals’ skills and knowledge and providing adequate planning, training and support. It’s important to understand that stress affects people differently, and factors like skills, experience, age or disability can all impact someone’s ability to cope.

There are six main work-related areas that can affect stress levels: demands, control, support, relationships, role and change. As business leaders, you need to assess the risks in these areas to properly manage stress in the workplace. By doing so, you can create a work environment where employees feel supported, engaged and productive.

HSE (The Health and Safety Executive) have formulated a document on how to recognise signs of stress in your employees and how to manage them, click the link below to find out more.

Signs of stress
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Writing a stress risk assessment

As an employer, it’s your legal duty to protect your employees from stress at work by conducting a risk assessment and taking necessary action. If you have five or more workers, you are legally required to document your risk assessment.

The paperwork you produce should help you communicate and manage the risks in your business. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task – simply note the main points about significant risks and your decisions. By conducting a risk assessment and documenting it, you’ll be able to create a safer and healthier work environment for you and your employees.

Top tips to get you started

  • Identify the risk factors in your workplace and record what controls are in place, or need to be put in place, to manage these hazards
  • Get commitment from your employees, particularly your senior leadership team
  • Educate your whole team in identifying the stress risk areas and the signs of stress in themselves and others
  • Empower your team by seeking their advice and opinions on the current strategies and how they can be improved
  • Document what you are doing, why and when this will be implemented and reviewed

Example stress risk assesments

Read some example risk assessments on stress, designed to help small business leaders.

Find here

Stress risk assesment checklist

Establish if your business’ approach to reducing workplace stress is suitable and sufficient.

Click here

Workplace stress overview

Read the full guidance from HSE on work-related stress and how to manage it.

Read here