With reports today that heavy workloads are to blame for stress, a survey has found that nearly eight in ten employers could be contributing to 'Burn-out Britain' by failing to manage the main factors identified by the HSE known to cause stress at work.
79% of health and safety professionals polled by Croner have not taken any action to implement the HSE's new stress 'Management Standards' introduced last year. The Management Standards are due to be enforced later this year, when all employers will be expected to conform to them.
Over half of the survey respondents are unaware of the HSE's Management Standards, while 24% have taken no action to put them into practice.
The HSE identifies six sources of stress, or 'stressors', thought to contribute to workplace stress: demands of the job, control over how to work, support from colleagues and management, working relationships, clarity of role, and organisational change.
When the Management Standards are enforced, employers will have to meet a percentage target of staff who must think each Standard is being achieved, or the employer will fail an assessment.
However, the survey by Croner reveals that only 7% of organisations have taken any steps to implement the Management Standards, with 14% saying they are currently considering it.
Figures show that work-related stress accounts for ninety million working days lost per year, costing businesses around £3.7 billion.
"Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) employers must ensure staff are not made ill by their work.
Employers must take responsibility for stress caused by work and the working environment and adopt the attitude of 'prevention rather than cure'" said Katherine Hunter, health & safety expert from Croner.
"The HSE's Management Standards help this process by setting realistic targets and explaining how to achieve them. It is an important step to helping bosses recognise their responsibilities under health and safety law to minimise the risk of stress in their organisation," she added.
Firms urged to reduce stress