Health and Safety Executive set to publish work-related stress investigations criteria

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is set to publish the criteria required to begin an investigation into work-related stress.

The HSE has said that this is part of its work redefining its operational guidance in order to maintain a consistent approach to handling complaints of work-related stress.

Over the next several weeks the HSE is set to publish clarification on criteria in order to begin investigations in situations where stress at work in the main concern of staff.

According to the Labour Force Survey, almost 600,000 workers suffered from depression, anxiety or work-related stress in 2017/18, with 15.4 million working days lost as a result.

A spokesperson for the Health and Safety Executive, said: “As work-related stress is responsible for more than half the working days lost to ill health, the number of concerns from workers raised with us is also on the increase.

“The intention is to signpost notifiers to the correct authority via website guidance before they submit the concern.

“There has been no change our overall policy that [we] will consider complaints of work-related stress and will, where there is sufficient evidence, consider taking action.”

Emily Pearson, the founder of Our Minds Work, said: “The HSE is toughening its stance towards firms and how they address the issues of work-related stress and other workplace mental health problems is a necessary and significant step.

“The shocking impact to employee health should be a big red flag to responsible organisations, prompting them to take action to prevent such a serious health hazard. But in 2019 there has been minimal effort to tackle the problem, leaving hundreds of thousands of employees unwell because of poor mental health.”

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Donna Martin

Donna Martin

Partner at Mackrell.Solicitors
Donna Martin is a Partner in the Employment team at Mackrell.Solicitors’ London office. She advises both employers and employees on a full range of contentious and non-contentious issues. As an employment law expert, Donna has significant experience in drafting employment contracts and handbooks, advising on grievance and disciplinary procedures and preparatory work prior to tribunals, including advising on the advantages and disadvantages of settling cases.