Tuesday, May 28, 2024

New free tool from HSE helps employers comply with mental health laws

Businesses are being encouraged to sign up to a just-launched free-to-use interactive tool, designed by the HSE’s Working Minds campaign, to understand what they need to do to comply with the law around mental health.

The tool, launched this week, provides the guidance employers need to take action to meet their legal duties and begin to understand how to include stress in their workplace risk assessments.

The new tool is made up of six short modules taking employers through relatable, everyday scenarios, such as how to recognise the signs of stress in individuals and teams like regular lateness to work, being withdrawn and higher staff turnover.

Liz Goodwill, head of work-related stress policy at HSE, said: “More than half of SMEs recently visited by HSE knew they had a legal duty to assess the risk of work-related stress, but the number who actually did this was significantly lower. This new online tool will help employers understand the steps and actions necessary to help bridge this gap. It is a much needed solution.

“Lack of time, money and know-how are common reasons why businesses can struggle to prevent and proactively tackle the issue. Now, they have a resource that provides free learning which is simple and engaging and does not take a huge amount of time to complete.

“Businesses will come away with an understanding of what the law requires of employers and what actions they need to take. It provides an opportunity for employers to refresh their existing knowledge and help drive the culture change that the Working Minds campaign is aiming to achieve. I encourage them to give it a go.”

The tool is available at the HSE’s online Health and Work conference here: HSE Workplace Stress (focusgames.com).

The law requires all employers to carry out a stress risk assessment and act upon the findings to prevent work-related stress and support good mental health in the workplace.

Since 2019, the total annual cost of poor mental health has increased by 25%, costing UK employers up to £56 billion a year. Over half of working days are lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. Stress, depression and anxiety are the number one reasons for work-related illness in the UK and figures continue to rise.

Liz Goodwill added: “The Mental health and employers report from Deloitte suggests employers see a return of £5.30 on average for every £1 invested in staff wellbeing. By providing this free learning, our aim is to help lower the investment cost and assist employers to reap the potential benefits including increased productivity, lower absenteeism and reduced staff turnover.”

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