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HSE guide targets workplace stress

NEWS

WORKPLACE STRESS and depression has been targeted by a comprehensive new guide for managers published by the Health & Safety Executive this week.

However, the management focus of the document - which carries no legal status - means the new guidance will be little help to employees whose manager is the problem.

Stress in the workplace has been targeted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after research revealed that stressrelated illness is responsible for 6.5M sick days each year and costs employers £370M.

The HSE's guide, Tackling work-related stress: a managers' guide to improving and maintaining employee health and well-being, urges managers to assess the risks and identify potential hazards.

Seven risk factors are highlighted, from company culture and the demands it places on individuals to the nature of relationships in the workplace and the potential for bullying or harassment.

The guidance document is a key part of the HSE's long term strategy to reduce the number of sick days by 30% by 2010. Guidance will eventually be firmed up into a legally enforceable code of practice.

'The guidance is the first step towards producing management standards, ' explained the HSE's stress spokesman Elizabeth Gyngell. 'This will make enforcing stress-related health and safety regulations easier.'

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