What are the stress management standards issued by the Health and Safety Executive?

The standards consider six key aspects of work that, with a lack of proper management, can cause stress. Their aim is to help employers measure their performance as far as managing work-related stress is concerned. This will assist employers in meeting their legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3242) to assess the risk of stress-related ill health arising from work activities and to take measures to control that risk.

The six key aspects of work included in the standards are:

  • demands - which includes such issues as workload, work patterns and the working environment;
  • control - how much say people have in the way that they do their work;
  • support - which includes the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues;
  • relationships - which includes promoting positive working in order to avoid conflict, as well as dealing with unacceptable behaviour;
  • role - whether people understand their own role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles; and
  • change - how both large and small organisational changes are managed and communicated to employees.