Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Order to reduce trust’s staff stress levels may impact OHOn 1 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Anunprecedented move by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to order an NHStrust to reduce the levels of stress faced by staff could have wide-reachingimplications for occupational health professionals.WestDorset General Hospitals NHS trust was issued with an improvement notice by theHSE in August.Itis the first time the HSE has issued such an order for stress against anorganisation, and was prompted by a complaint from a former employee. Thetrust, which is in line to achieve foundation status, has been given until 15December to reduce the stress levels of its staff or face legal action underthe Health and Safety at Work Act, which could mean unlimited fines.However,the Department of Health (DoH) was at pains to emphasise the notice did notmean the trust’s 1,100 staff were necessarily more stressed than others in thepublic sector, just that its “systems of work” – particularly the fact it didnot have a work-related stress policy in place or a risk assessment ofwork-related stressors – needed addressing.“Thetrust has been working with the HSE and staff representatives to understand thereasons for workplace stress, and plan to develop a survey in conjunction witha local university. While staff already have access to OH and counsellorservices, the trust will now also be using management standards developed bythe HSE as a way to begin to tackle work-related stress,” said the DoH. Thetrust has said it will take action, arguing it is committed to reducing stressand will build on an existing plan to try to improve the working lives of itsstaff.Byacting so publicly and decisively, the HSE has brought concerns about stressand, crucially, the role of OH in tackling it, firmly on to the businessagenda, argued Alyssa Armstrong, manager of corporate well-being services atBupa Wellness.“Bymaking this statement, the HSE is showing it is serious about trying to combatstress. Companies will pay much more attention, although it is a shame that ittakes an event like this to cause them to take notice,” she said.“Organisationswill now start to take notice of what OH has been saying for years. There willbe much more readiness to go with what OH is saying,” she added.