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Irish regulator launches online stress tool

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has urged employers in the Republic of Ireland to use a new free online tool to design and implement stress action plans. 

Irish regulator launches online stress tool
Image credit: © iStock/kieferpix

Developed with the State Claims Agency, the “Work Positive” tool can be used to carry out confidential psychosocial risk assessments. It has been designed to help employers assess workplace stressors, employee psychological wellbeing and critical incident exposure in the workplace. Intended to cover whole workforces, the HSA said the stress assessment can be carried out over three to six months and be re-used every few years. 

A 2016 study by the Dublin-based Economic and Social Research Institute identified workers who are most at risk of developing the two most common types of work-related illness: stress, anxiety and depression and work-related musculoskeletal disorders, which account for 18% and 50% of cases. 

The HSA says a Europe-wide survey on working conditions by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work found that 22% of workers in the Republic of Ireland experienced stress at work “always” or “most of the time”. The proportion that “always” experienced stress was the third highest in the EU15 and tenth highest among the 34 countries surveyed. 

The tool’s launch coincides with a new HSA campaign which aims to raise awareness of the damaging effects of work-related stress. 

“All employers have a duty of care to provide a safe and healthy workplace,” said Patricia Murray, organisational psychologist with the HSA, “and this duty extends to mental as well as physical safety and health. The benefits of doing so not only extend to employees themselves but also to the business in the form of reduced absenteeism and increased employee engagement, performance and productivity.”

 

 

Nic Warburton is acting editor, IOSH Magazine

 Nick Warburton is acting editor of IOSH Magazine. He is a former editor of SHP and has also worked on Local Authority Waste and Recycling and Environmental Health Practitioner

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