Introduction In 2012, the HSE launched the national ‘Policy on Prevention and Management of Stress in the Workplace’ which was developed by a cross-sectorial multi-disciplinary group. In line this policy, the Organisational Psychology Unit, local HR (HSE West/North West/Mid West) and National HR designed resources and risk assessment tools to enable managers address workplace stress.
The 2015 European Safety Campaign ‘Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress’ afforded the HSE an opportunity to develop a national response to workplace stress as a psychosocial risk. The National Health and Safety Function (NHSF) recognised the need for a collaborative response and facilitated the development of a Workplace Stress Working Group (WSG). The WSG compiled of professionals from Organisational Psychology, Health and Safety, Occupational Health (OH), Employee Assistance and Counselling Services (EASC), Learning, Education and Development (LED), Health Promotion (HP and I) and HR.
Methods The WSG developed the HSE’s Cycle of Stress Management (Identification, Prevention, Support and Assistance and Monitoring and Review) and created supporting information material.
A seminar programme was developed to:
provide support and disseminate tools to managers,
implement workplace stress risk assessment,
promote manager leadership in pro-actively managing and supporting staff health and wellbeing,
assess personal health behaviours and
create supportive positive work environments.
Key stakeholders from the WSG co-presented at these seminars.
Result To date, nineteen accredited seminars were held, with 842 attendees. 95% of evaluations received (75% response rate) were hugely positive.
Data from the NHSF, demonstrated one hospital increased its use of the stress management risk assessment tool by 62.5%, following two stress management seminars.
Discussion Anecdotal evidence suggests that managers are more confident in pro-actively addressing workplace stress and this is evident with the recent results of Health Sector Staff Survey Your Opinion Counts showing that almost 70% of staff are aware of the facilities to support stress in work.
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