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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=976&articleaction=print

National Stress Awareness Day - Acas helps HSE to tackle Britain's £3.7 billion work-related stress epidemic

Thursday 27 October 2005
National 

Acas is helping the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to reduce work-related stress in a pilot scheme involving 80 organisations from five key sectors - health, education, local government, central government and financial services.

stress


The plan is for these organisations to implement the HSE's stress management standards by developing risk assessments and putting in place improvement plans. Acas advisers will be key to this.

We will help the participants to look at a range of stress-reducing issues, including communications, job design, how employees are managed, support for employees in their jobs and managing workplace change better.

Acas Chief Executive John Taylor said:

"Stress costs the British economy £3.7 billion every year with around 13 million days a year lost. It is often a symptom of poor employment relations and can seriously affect productivity. We hope that by carrying out risk assessments and acting on the results, organizations will be able to improve their performance through better working conditions for their employees.

"Acas has unique expertise in good employment relations. We are therefore delighted to be at the heart of HSE and ISMA's drive to eradicate Britain's stress epidemic. Organizations that talk regularly with their employees and have good systems and procedures in place for managing absence and sickness are much more likely to avoid work-related stress. They can also deal more effectively with potentially stressful situations when they arise."

Dr Rosemary Anderson, Director of ISMAUK (the organisers of National Stress Awareness Day) said:

"Our research has shown that many organisations are now working to implement the Management Standards approach, but are meeting obstacles that are mainly due to lack of planning, insufficient training, or lack of senior management support. By working together on initiatives such as our new stress leaflet and the conference organised to mark National Stress Awareness Day, ISMAUK and Acas can do a lot to help HSE raise awareness of good practice in making the Management Standards work."

Notes to editors

1.  Acas provides training based on the HSE standards and will also help organisations deal with the outcomes of the risk assessments. Details are available on the acas website www.acas.org.uk or you can phone our help line on 08457 474747. The helpline is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

2.  Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.

3.  The conference is designed to introduce the HSE Management Standards and explore how they can be best introduced in organisation ; to demonstrate the long term business benefits of effectively managing work-related stress and to share good practice and lessons learnt with others.

4.  On 3 November 2004 HSE launched the Management Standards and tools to help employers and employees work together to prevent excessive work-related stress. The material is available at www.hse.gov.uk/stress and will help organisations meet their existing duty of care and their duty to assess the risk of work-related stress. The standards define the characteristics, or culture, of an organisation where stress is being managed effectively. They cover the primary sources of stress which are: demands, control, support, relationships, role and change. The toolkit consists of a survey and continuous improvement model which enables organisations to measure their progress and effectiveness of interventions.

5.  National Stress Awareness Day is organised by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) - a registered charity with a multi-disciplinary professional membership. ISMA exists to promote sound knowledge and best practice in the prevention, reduction and management of personal and work-related stress, and sets professional standards for the benefit of organisations using the services of its members. For more information visit the website http://www.isma.org.uk/

For press enquiries please contact Paula Williams or Lou Owen, tel: 020 7210 3894/3920.