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Established principles of health and safety management usually engender visions of rules regulations; dos-donts and the risks as to which a company is exposed. The management of these aspects usually surmount to functions such as Training; Information; Instruction and Supervision. In recent times interventions such as wellbeing strategies have started to become more prevalent, together with aspects of behaviour both physical-psychological and planning for construct changes not only for employees but within the organisational infrastructure as a whole. Crucially organisations have been centred on hierarchal structures, which in turn drive company policy; strategic targets-goals and how they're derived. Aspectual differences; behavioural-managerial; culture attributes need full integration to become indistinguishable as advocated by quality-business standards. E.g. (ISO-9001; ISO-14001; OHSAS-18001)-(Control of Major Accidents Hazards Regulations, 1999).
The essence of any well planned (HSW) management strategy is to analyse current; past and future stratagems incorporating intervention initiatives in establishing-maintaining positive, proactive safe working environments at all levels. (HSW) strategies rely on a means of mutual co-operation, co-ordination and a continuous development-improvement process by setting realistic-achievable (HSW) standards, which all within the business have some contribution into its development. (Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations, (1977), Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations, (1996). Managerial styles, culture often promote methodological disparities when dealing with successful (HSW) strategies. Perceptions and clarity towards communication, disproportional flow of information and the lack of perceived employee "empowerment", differing personality traits, rate highly amongst employees when focusing on industrial relations between both parties.
Perceived variations and attitudes of "philosophy" towards prioritising (HSW) over production targets and safety initiatives constantly emerge time and again (Means et al,. 2003). Historically there has been an overemphasis on the management, in the "setting" of rules; policies; responsibilities, not enough attention has been given by way impute of employees in determining how a sustainable-proactive (HSW) strategy impacts on the business in many instances. What are the key questions senior management needs to ask themselves? Costs; sickness-absence; insurance premiums; accident rates? All are important; however there is no single measure for appraising proactive approaches to (HSW).
What is required is a balanced package providing not only what is required to remain legally compliant, but initiatives that can address long standing problems; which many see as being part of the job! Proactively addressing the more conventional issues such as, Work Setting; Occupational Stress; Behavioural Risk Management Strategies will allow the company to address the severity of a problem, not merely the consequences which in turn impacts direct bottom line costs.
WORK SETTING ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSUAL EFFECTS:
Due to large scale improvements in the working environment: technical advances such as industrial- mechanisation, mechanical handling equipment, the workplace has become more hazardous to employees. To many companies this may seem a little ironic as much emphasise is employed in providing positive health & safety training as part of its initiatives, (Means, Whitaker and Flin, 2003a). However improvements have casual impacts: (e.g. production increases; overtime, exposure to noise, chemicals,) acuminating in added 'stress-pressure'.
Hazards such as musculoskeletal and even workplace violence contribute to underlying problems. Typically employees are now being exposed to multiple levels of hazards, resulting in a "synergistic effect". Synergistic problems undoubtedly impact an employee's health-wellbeing as a posed to a single contributing factor. (Means, et al,. 2010b) outlines that low levels of support whether work-socially related has an impact on the prevalence of sickness-absence among workers. Harassment-peer pressure is also destructive when evaluating psychological problems, more instances of stress related sickness-absence is being recorded. Job satisfaction lack of "direct-indirect" exposure, even a lack of perceived control can influence attitudes when evaluating casual factors. An organisations approach to its safety culture can be a determinant factor when addressing (HSW) strategies. Employee involvement has a huge impact on "culture"; direct interactions can alter employee's perceptions of their own responsibility for safety which is an integral part of everyone's job. Furthermore this represents a commitment by senior management in engaging with its employees, promoting mutual collaboration, increasing acceptance that everyone has a part to play.
Health and safety practitioners can monitor effective cultures by way of "hazard related incident causation models". (Cameron, 1997) suggests that an "Organisation's safety culture" is derived by the management's commitment-non-commitment to safety, as an "outward sign of its culture".
Individual personality traits directly impact on the working environment as well as concepts of health and wellbeing. Differing types of environments trait tendencies relate to certain health conditions including: work-loads too much or not enough; job uncertainties'; time constraints; lack of control. Work-life balance generally focuses on constructs of perceived control in your own environment. Work-social pressures may profoundly influence behaviour, social by indirect physical health problems, and work by direct psychological problems. Social support can have an effect on physical health by relieving stress, ill-health effects promoting positive interventions, (home visits, telephone conversations, health practitioner support-Occupational nurse etc).
Providing individual support at work can help alleviate psychological problems, (e.g. HR involvement, training-development, resource deployment, added qualifications and ambiguity-over changes in role, redundancy threat), (Frome, Russell and Cooper, 1995).
TEAM STRESS RISK ASSESSMENT:
QUESTIONS TO IDENTIFY CONCERNS IN EACH OF THE SIX MAIN STRESS CATEGORIES.
SOURCES OF STRESS
QUESTIONS TO ASK
Do you feel you have just the right amount of work to do (i.e. not too much or not too little)
Have you had sufficient training to do your job?
Are there any problems with your work environment?
Are you able to have some say about how your job is done?
Do you feel included in decision making in the team?
Do you feel you are using the skills you have got to full effect?
Do you feel that you get enough support from your line manager?
Do you feel you get enough support from colleagues?
Do you take the breaks you are entitled to at work?
Do you feel you have a healthy work-life balance?
Are you affected by any conflict in the team?
Are you subjected to any bullying or harassment at work?
Do you feel the team works well together?
Are you clear about your roles and responsibilities at work?
Do you feel that there is any conflict in your role?
Do you understand others roles in the team?
Are you made aware of any changes that are happening at work?
Do you understand why the change is happening?
Do you understand the impact on your job of any change?
Do you feel well supported during change at work?
(b) TEAM STRESS RISK ASSESSMENT
FORM - FOR MANAGER TO COMPLETE
Risk assessment for: Department/Teamâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦. Area/Unitâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.
You can give this questionnaire out as a survey and collate responses, or if your team is small, use it as a guide for asking questions with them in a team meeting.
Do a basic frequency count of yes's and no's from your team member's responses?
Conduct team discussions/ focus groups to explore any areas that seem to be higher risk (i.e. more negative than positive responses to the questions). When you have completed the stress risk assessment, develop an action plan (attached) with your team to address any areas of concern or high risk and review this on a regular basis.
Type of Stressor
Specific causes of workplace stress identified within each category
Existing workplace precautions already in place
Further action to be taken
Who will ensure the action is done? And Review date
General Manager's signatureâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦
APPENDIX 4(a) STRESS RETURN TO WORK QUESTIONNAIRE.
Cause of stress
Was it a problem for you? Use this space to detail what the problem was. If it was not a problem leave it blank
What can be done about it? Can we make any adjustments?
Did different people at work demand things from you that were hard to combine?
Did you have unachievable deadlines?
Did you have to work very intensively?
Did you have to neglect some tasks because you had too much to do?
Were you unable to take sufficient breaks?
Did you feel pressured to work long hours?
Did you feel you had to work very fast?
Did you have unrealistic time pressures?
Could you decide when to take a break?
Did you feel you had a say in your work speed?
Did you feel you had a choice in deciding how you did your work?
Did you feel you had a choice in deciding what you did at work?
Did you feel you had some say over the way you did your work?
Did you feel your time could be flexible?
Did your manager give you enough supportive feedback on the work you did?
Did you feel you could rely on your manager to help you with a work problem?
Did you feel you could talk to your manager about something that upset or annoyed you at work?
Did you feel your manager supported you through any emotionally demanding work?
Did you feel your manager encouraged you enough at work?
Did you feel your colleagues would help you if work became difficult?
Did you get the help and support you needed from your colleagues?
Did you get the respect at work you deserved from your colleagues?
Were your colleagues willing to listen to your work-related problems?
Were you personally harassed, in the form of unkind words or behaviour?
Did you feel there was friction or anger between colleagues?
Were you bullied at work?
Were relationships strained at work?
Were you clear about what was expected of you at work?
Did you know how to go about getting your job done?
Were you clear about what your duties and responsibilities were?
Were you clear about the goals and objectives for this department?
Did you understand how your work fits into the overall aim of the organisation?
Did you have enough opportunities to question managers about change at work?
Did you feel consulted about change at work?
When changes were made at work, were you clear about how they would work out in practice?
Is there anything else that was a source of stress for you, at work or at home, which may have contributed to you going off work with work-related stress?
APPENDIX 1 MANAGEMENT / WORKER
CONSULATION CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT CYCLE.
Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations, (1977), Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations, (1996).
ORGANISTING & DIRECTING HEALTH, SAFETY and WELLBEING STRATEGEMS
Fines / sanctions/ regulatory compliance