HSE launches Working Minds campaign
HSE has launched a new campaign, 'Working Minds', to encourage employers to promote good mental health in work.
Work-related stress and poor mental health risk becoming a health and safety crisis for Britain's workplaces, the regulator has warned.
In response to figures showing more than 17 million working days were lost as a result of stress, anxiety or depression last year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is launching its new campaign, 'Working Minds', which examines issues relating to health at work. The campaign aims to help businesses recognise the signs of work-related stress and make tackling issues routine.
While 'Working Minds' is specifically targetting six million workers in small businesses, HSE is calling for a culture change across Britain's workplaces, to ensure psychological risks are treated the same as physical ones in health and safety risk management.
HSE's Chief Executive Sarah Albon said: "Work-related stress and poor mental health should be treated with the same significance as risks of poor physical health and injury. In terms of the affect it has on workers, significant and long-term stress can limit performance and impact personal lives.
"No worker should suffer in silence and if we don't act now to improve workers' mental health, this could evolve into a health and safety crisis.
"The pandemic has highlighted the need to protect the health of employees who have faced unprecedented challenges; the Government is committed to building back better and we want to make sure good mental health is central to this."
HSE aims to remind businesses that no matter where people work, employers have a legal duty to assess the risks in the workplace, not just in terms of potential hazards and physical safety. They should also promote good working practices. It says this promotes an open environment where employees can share their concerns and discuss options to ease pressures.
Sarah Albon added: "Our campaign is focused on giving employers a clear reminder of their duties while championing reducing work-related stress and promoting good mental health at work."
The regulator has partnered with a number of organisations to highlight the triggers of stress, the legal duty of employers and how to manage the risks. The network of Working Minds champions includes the charity Mind, which supports and empowers anyone experiencing a mental health problem in England.
Working Minds is aimed specifically at supporting small businesses by providing employers and workers with easy to implement advice, including simple steps in its '5 R's' to Reach out, Recognise, Respond, Reflect and make it Routine.
Employers and workers wanting to know more about the Working Minds campaign, including the legal obligations, advice, and tools available, should visit workright.campaign.gov.uk/campaigns/workingminds.