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UpdatesDec 03, 2017

4 ways to identify stress hazards in your workplace

Stress is a common workplace issue and could be a health and safety risk for your workers.

By Joanna Weekes

Stress is a common workplace issue and could be a health and safety risk for your workers. This is because it could create a physical or psychological health issue.

You must manage risks caused by stress hazards as part of your health and safety obligations.

What causes stress in the workplace?

Stress can be caused by organisational factors, such as a poorly managed workplace, or environmental factors that cause ongoing irritation or concern.

Organisational stress hazards include:

Environmental stress hazards include:

Individual factors (i.e. the personality or resilience of individual workers) are also important for determining whether stress might be an issue in your workplace.

4 ways to identify stress hazards in your workplace

To identify stress hazards, undertake the following steps:

Determining stress in the workplace

Work-related stress is a major health and safety issue in any organisation and, while it is not an illness, it can lead to mental and physical health issues if it becomes excessive.

All health and safety legislation throughout Australia imposes a legal duty on a business to do what is reasonably practicable to eliminate or minimise risks to workers’ health and safety, including protecting them from the risk of harm due to any stressors at work. In order to do that, a business has to understand the environmental, organisational and individual circumstances that can lead to stress in the first place.

If you are having difficulty identifying where the risk factors are in your organisation, here are two great techniques you can adopt:

Dealing with work-related stress

Reducing stress levels for your workers’ health is not only important for their wellbeing, it also leads to improved organisational performance. So, in addition to your legal compliance obligations, there are good reasons to carefully review potential stressors in your business and take steps to remove them.

Some key factors that can improve your organisation overall when dealing with work-related stress include:

As leaders in your business, having senior management committed to organisational change is critical to the success of any program. Through frequent and open communication, senior managers can gain commitment by the workforce to help change attitudes and behaviour in relation to stress.

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