The TUC has published a new guide – produced with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – to help trade union health and safety representatives tackle workplace stress.

Last year seven in 10 respondents to a TUC survey of more than 1,000 health and safety representatives identified stress as the top concern in their workplace. As a result the TUC has issued this handbook, which will help union representatives work with employers to find practical solutions to work-related stress.
The guide is based on the HSE ‘management standards’ in handling stress. It breaks down the causes of work-related stress into six key areas:

  • demands: issues like workload, work pattern and environment
  • control: how much say someone has over the way in which they work
  • support: available resources, line management and colleagues
  • relationships: dealing with unacceptable behaviour and promoting positive working
  • role: if the person understands their role at work and does not have conflicting roles
  • change: how organisational change – large or small – is communicated.

The handbook proposes that a group – made up of representatives from across every level of the organisation – gathers information on the current situation in the workplace and carries out a risk assessment based on the HSE standards.

The group can then identify practical proposals for change that could make a real difference, such as tackling a long hours working culture, improving workplace practices or increasing staffing levels.