Following demands for formal regulation, three new standards have been/are being developed under the guidance of the British Standards Institute (BSI) to provide guidance on managing psychosocial risks (stress) in the workplace and a structured framework for effectively managing risks, adopting best practice in organisational management and exceeding legal requirements. The standards are set out in PAS (Publically Available Specification) documents (standards) and it is hoped that all three PAS documents will have been introduced and form part of organisations’ wellbeing or stress management policies by the end of 2012.
Work-related stress (i.e. when work demands exceed a person’s capacity to cope) is a significant cause of illness and sickness absence. Well-designed jobs and workplaces, and good management practices, can help prevent stress problems from escalating. The aim of the three new standards is to provide a clear and quality-controlled route for effective stress management across any sector:
- PAS 1010 (Guidance on the management of psychosocial risks in the workplace): Guidance and good practice on assessing and managing psychosocial risks at work, and implementing a risk assessment and policy for dealing with stress. This standard was published in 2011.
- PAS 1011 (Management Competencies and Standards): This standard is based on management standards and competencies. It provides guidelines for managers to ensure they have the core knowledge to implement their organisation’s policy and to understand their own responsibility in relation to the policy and managing stress. This standard will be available sometime in 2012.
- PAS 1012 (Resilience, Well-being and Returning to Work): This standard (available sometime in 2012) is split into two parts:
- The first part provides guidance in relation to prevention or resilience in the workplace by individual employees taking personal responsibility for their own wellbeing.
- The second part lays out clear procedures to ensure that employees receive an effective return to work programme.
According to BSI Standards, standards are “codes of best practice that improve safety, efficiency, interoperability and facilitate trade”. Implementing BSI standards helps organisations ensure that they are working to the same standards of best practice as other organisations in their industry, and that they can improve their systems and processes in order to achieve excellence. These three new stress standards will help organisations ensure that they are doing all they can to tackle stress in the workplace. For more information about supporting employees who are suffering from stress, or for help with any other employee health issues, call the free Health for Work Adviceline on 0800 0 77 88 44.