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Work organisation hazards

Work can be incredibly stressful. Intense workload demands; a lack of control, respect or flexibility; and even violence, harassment and discrimination can all take a toll on employees’ health and wellbeing. These stressors are known as work organisation hazards.

Stress, depression and anxiety is now the number one cause of occupational ill health, accounting for 44% of new and long-standing work-related illnesses. It should therefore be a key component of any employers’ health and safety strategy.

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Protect your people, productivity and reputation

Workplace stress can have a significant impact on employees’ health, morale, work rate, attendance and working relationships. In turn, this can create a long list of problems for employers: excessive absences, long-term sickness, high turnover, difficulties recruiting and retaining staff, and even litigation by those affected by workplace stress.

WorkNest can help you to assess risk and put measures in place to meet your responsibilities under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

  • Assess how well you’re managing all workplace hazards, including adherence to the HSE’s stress management standards, through an on-site health and safety audit (General Risk Assessment)
  • Equip managers and employees with stress management techniques through stress awareness training and eLearning
  • Document your arrangements with expert-created risk assessment templates, plus a robust Health & Safety policy containing a specific section on stress
  • Get unlimited support from a dedicated Health & Safety Consultant, who will work with you to ensure safety and compliance in all risk areas
  • Uncover and improve employees’ attitudes and perceptions in key health and safety areas with a bespoke culture survey

Related resources


3 Strategies for Managing Stress in the Workplace


HSE Statistics for Education Show Significantly Higher Rates of Stress – and a Possible Safety Plateau

Free template

Individual Stress Risk Assessment

Not just a ‘nice to have’

Employers can often overlook stress, focusing instead on controlling physical safety hazards. However, given the various business implications of failing to manage employee wellbeing, it’s important that employers recognise signs of stress in staff and take proactive steps to remove or reduce the causes. This could be anything from unrealistic or last-minute deadlines to a lack of training or job insecurity. In many cases, stress can be attributed to a lack of support.

If this is a concern within your organisation, or you are keen to take positive action before problems arise, WorkNest can help you to do meet your obligations under health and safety law and create engaged, high-performing teams.

Popular FAQs

Common work organisation queries and questions about our service, answered by our Health & Safety specialists.

What is meant by stress? After all, we all have bad days sometimes?

Stress is defined by the HSE as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them”.
In practice, stress affects people differently – what stresses one person may not affect someone else. Indeed, many workers benefit from a certain amount of pressure in their work; it can help to keep them motivated and give them a sense of achievement. However, when too much pressure is placed upon someone, they will become overwhelmed. Factors such as skills and experience, age and disability all impact a person’s ability to cope. A worker’s skill and knowledge should therefore be matched to the demands placed on them.

What are employers’ legal duties in respect to managing stress?

There is no one law specifically covering stress. Instead, protection comes from a range of sources. Common law dictates that employers are responsible for the general safety of their employees while at work. Statutory law such as the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states that employers must take reasonable steps to make sure workplaces are safe and healthy and control identified risks.
In addition, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to carry out a “suitable and sufficient” assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees. As an employer, you are required to put proper controls in place to avoid these risks, wherever possible. Where it is not possible to avoid risk, steps must be taken to reduce them so far as is “reasonably practicable”.

Do I need anything in place if I don’t think stress is a problem in my workplace?

All organisations should have an assessment for workplace stress and have measures in place to mitigate it. Stress is often not reported or recognised until staff start to suffer symptoms, so having systems in place to identify and deal with this early is important.

Do I need to consider work organisation hazards for staff currently working at home?

Yes, there is an increased risk of harmful effects from stress and anxiety for those working at home due to the pandemic. Your assessment should consider both physical hazards, such as those associated with work equipment, work station set-up and working alone, and mental health and wellbeing hazards, such as stress, isolation and fatigue.

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Experts in Health & Safety support

If you’re not confident in your current practices, or don’t have professional support in place, our network of qualified Health & Safety Consultants can help you to build a safe and compliant working environment through expert support tailored to your organisation.

  • Approved by a Primary Authority
  • Dedicated specialists with recognised qualifications
  • Genuine hands-on experience of managing risk
  • Unlimited 24/7 advice, award-winning software and policy support
  • The confidence to act as one of your competent persons

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