Guide to combat stress in the workplace

Press Release: 05/04/2005

Winchester businesses are being offered a free toolkit to help them tackle stress in the workplace.

The toolkit will be launched by the Winchester Business Health Advisory Group (BHAG) next week in conjunction with Environmental Health staff at Winchester City Council. The 'Stress in a Nutshell' project has been developed to provide local employers with advice on dealing with workplace-related stress.

Each year about half a million people in the UK experience work-related stress at a level they believe is making them ill and up to 5 million people in the UK feel "very" or "extremely" stressed by their work.

While the health effects can be distressing for the individual, work-related stress costs society about £4 billion every year through lost productivity, staff absence and potential legal claims.

The scale of the problem is such that new national health and safety standards on the issue have been produced which place more detailed responsibilities on companies to tackle the issue.

The local toolkit includes a simple guide and action plan for addressing the issue and is supported by a new website and publicity materials for use in the workplace.

Richard Rogers, Chair of Winchester BHAG, said that many local businesses are aware of the problem but may be unsure on the best way to deal with it. "We hope that by providing this simple and practical guide we can help employers meet their legal responsibilities but also prevent stress in the workplace having an adverse effect on their business," he added.

Robert Heathcock, Head of Health and Environment at the City Council, said: "We have always been keen to work with business to help them comply with any health and safety legal requirements. We hope that our input into this project will further support that aim while also improving the health of the local population."

Details of the guide are being distributed to businesses throughout April and anyone wanting further information can also visit www.winchester.gov.uk/hfa/bhag