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Workplace Stress Risk Management



Workplace stress can be identified and addressed through a Stress Risk Management Audit, sometimes referred to as a Stress Risk Management Assessment. In a number of Australian States, and in the UK ...

Workplace stress can be identified and addressed through a Stress Risk Management Audit, sometimes referred to as a Stress Risk Management Assessment. In a number of Australian States, and in the UK through the Safety Executive (UK), workplace stress risk factors have been identified and considered in a risk assessment process. This powerpoint is intended to fit into recommended practices rather be considered as an alternative. It also aligns with other Organisational Health methodologies, such as the Organisational Health Audit and Complaints Management, by using an underlying Human Activity System model. This allows for the identification stress risk factors to be identified when addressing other workplace issues.



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Workplace Stress Risk Management Workplace Stress Risk Management Presentation Transcript

  • Workplace Stress Risk Management Audit Version 5 August 2011
  • Workplace StressWhat is Stress?Workplace stress is a response by an employee when presented with work situationswhich challenge their ability to cope.One way of looking at stress is to view it as a response to an intrapersonal conflict (aconflict within oneself), felt both psychologically and emotionally, and is broughtabout by work related factors.Note: In psychological terms Stress is described not in intrapersonal conflict terms but as an“imbalance” between work demands and the capability and/or resources to meet thesedemands. Copyright David Alman 2011
  • Workplace StressStress Symptoms can be picked up through behaviours- examplesCompeting: Coercive, bullying, blaming, criticisingControlling: Insisting on own quick fixes; refusing to listenWithdrawal: Arriving late; leaving earlyPreesenteeism: Indecisive; uncharacteristic errors; frequent time offDefensive: Loss of temper; loss of sense of humour; crying Copyright David Alman 2011
  • Workplace StressIntrapersonal conflict can cause either healthy or unhealthy stress responsesthough the term “stress” is usually equated not to healthy stress (eustress) butto unhealthy stress (distress or hypo or hyper stress): Eustress is where intrapersonal conflict provides a healthy response e.g. growth & development. Distress where intrapersonal conflict provides an unhealthy response e.g. anxiety & depression. Hypostress & Hyperstress are unhealthy response extremes (too much or too little intrapersonal conflict). Copyright David Alman 2011
  • StressWorkplaceConflict Model Response to StressStress responses can be healthy or unhealthy. In the diagram below it is related tointrapersonal conflict intensity. Eustress Healthy Distress Stress Response Hypostress Hyperstress Unhealthy Too little Too much Intrapersonal Conflict intensity e.g. Boredom e.g. Work Over load Copyright David Alman 2011
  • Workplace StressThere are different psychologically based “models” developed to explain howwork situations cause unhealthy stress responses.The most common is the “Job Stress” model where stress results from high jobdemands and low control. Another is the “Effort – Reward” model where theeffort of job demands and control are linked to the rewards in terms of money,esteem, and occupational status control.In psychological terms these models reflect stress resulting from an “imbalance”between demands and coping, or between gains and costs, respectively.In conflict terms, they reflect intrapersonal “cognitive” (perceived) conflicts. Copyright David Alman 2011
  • Workplace StressStress Risk Factors “Stressors” identified by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. Stress Risk Factor Examples1. Work Demands • Time pressures • High mental task demand • Monotonous & dull • Long hours • Unpredictable shift rosters2. Low Levels of Control • Low autonomy • Excessive responsibility, low authority3. Poor support from supervisors and/or • Lack of constructive feedbackco-workers • Ability to talk about problems • Lack of support4. Lack of clarity • Role confusion about objectives • Role confusion over accountability • Co-worker expectations5. Poorly managed relationships • Unresolved conflicts • Intensive conflicts, including strained relationships; harassment; and bullying6. Low levels of recognition and reward • Reward for effort7. Poorly managed change • Levels of anxiety and uncertainty8. Organisational justice • Perceived procedural unfairness • Perceived relational unfairness e.g. Dignity & respect during a process Copyright David Alman 2011
  • Workplace StressUnhealthy work environments cause poor performance, disengagement, and stress in employees. A StressRisk Management Audit based on, for example, Health & Safety Queensland’s 8 Stress Risk Factors can beused. These 8 Stress Risk Factors are interrelated which is why a Human Activity System (HAS) Model canassist in emphasising the need to search for causal relationships. Practices Values & beliefs 1. Workload e.g. from time pressures & 4. Conflicts e.g. Incompatible from types of works job demands with personal values. 2. Level of control e.g. Unnecessary supervision, too little authority, too little 7. Change Management e.g. say in the way work is done anxiety, uncertainty with Purpose work or employment status. 4. Confusion e.g. over the purpose, objectives, 8. Procedural fairness e.g. scope, responsibilities Perceived unfair treatment due to work procedures used Relationships & 3. Support from others e.g., lack of Relational Fairness e.g. support or encouragement. Perceived unfair treatment due to disrespect in handling 5. Relationships e.g., ongoing strained concerns. relationships, conflicts, harassment, bullying Copyright David Alman 2011
  • Workplace StressPrioritising hazards using a Stress Risk Rating Matrix.Different stress risk matrices are available. The example below is from the Premier’s Department NewSouth Wales “Occupational Stress. Hazard identification and risk management strategy.” Severity Impact Frequency Permanent personal High levels of Disruption to individual injury e.g. trauma absenteeism concentration and quality of workVery likely – couldhappen occasionally 1 2 3Likely – could happenoccasionally 2 3 4Unlikely – only rarely 3 4 5Very unlikely to occur 4 5 61 = Top priority – do something immediately6 = Low priority – do something where possible Copyright David Alman 2011
  • Workplace StressStress Risk Assessment- example. Normally the HAS aspects are not shown Hazard Description Stress Risk Stress Risk Management Hazard Controls Risk Factor Rating (Preventive Measures)Lack of support for new 3 2 Introduce local – job specific- induction.employees. High turnover &error rates (HAS work Practices & Key Result Areas & Standards set up for jobs.management Beliefs).Lack of consultation and 6 3 Set up team meetings.communication. Employees Introduce a performance feedback systemfeel ignored (HAS work Practices& management beliefs).Workloads too great. Unmet 1 3 Collaborative review of roles and processes.targets & high error rates(HAS work Practices & managementbeliefs)Poor working relationships 5 2 Conflict resolution: Use of collaborative problemcommonplace. Complaints solving, mediation, or coaching options.and absence rates high Supervisors trained in conflict management.(HAS Relations & management Beliefs) Develop value based performance Management SystemNote: Individual cases of reported high stress are covered separately Copyright David Alman 2011
  • For further advice please contact David AlmanContact details can be found on proventivesolutions.com.au Copyright David Alman 2011