Causes of Work Related Stress

Causes of Work Related Stress Defined by Health & Safety Executive

In 2007 the Health and Safety Executive commissioned a team of Psychologists to examine the core competencies that managers should possess (or acquire through training) that would best meet the objectives of minimising work related stress.

causes of work related stress - manager not coping hanging off a cliff metaphor

In additions to this research, further reports also identified SIX critical ‘domains’ within the working environment most likely to cause work related stress problems if not sufficiently managed.

Those domains are identified as:

  1. Work Place Demands
  2. Control of job aspects
  3. Support mechanisms
  4. Organisational Relationships
  5. Job Role Definition and specificity
  6. Change and control of change

HSE Management Standards

As a result of these analyses the HSE devised a programme designed to help business owners to develop a range of management protocols and practices that specifically address these six areas.

The deployment of these management standards is considered to be the ‘Blue Riband’ set of standards that identify businesses or organisations that are ‘excellent’ at mitigating the causes of work related stress and the associated problems.

Why Worry About The Causes?

Businesses that don’t pay attention to the causes of work related stress are likely to be those businesses that experience far too much lost time through illness and staff absence.

Statistic show that 37% of all time lost at work is due to either work related stress or mental health problems associated with (or even caused by) a lack of sufficient management in this area.

A greater reason to worry about the causes is that it is now (and in fact has always been) the legal duty of employers to protect their employees form work related stress!

If an employee can adequately show that their employer has failed to protect them, or failed to act in order to make reasonable work-place adjustments, then they will have sufficient grounds to take legal action against the employer, in exactly the same way as if they had befallen a work-place accident resulting in physical damage!

People Are Affected by the Causes Differently

It is vitally important to recognise that different people will respond differently to each of these principal causes.

It is not sufficient to state that ‘most people are happy with the way we manage XXX’ aspect of the job.

It is perfectly plausible that the level of demands acceptable to person A are completely unacceptable to person B, even if the demands are identical!

This is why here at Tranceform Psychology we focus our main efforts on helping your staff to react and respond to these causes in a more ‘resilient’ way so that you don’t have to necessarily ‘reduce’ demands within your business.

We call this approach the Thriving at Work stress management training programme.

Management Standards Consulting

If you would like some help implementing the HSE Management Standards in your business then Tranceform Psychology Business Services can help.

We offer multi-disciplinary expert help through our core delivery team, including expertise in:

  • Corporate Governance - Paul has held senior directorships in local SME's and holds both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Psychology
  • A thorough understanding of business leadership & management
  • NEBOSH NGC Level 3 Health & Safety certification

We are able to undertake risk assessments for work related stress as well as make a general gap-analysis of where your company 'is' in terms of internal structures, policies and deployment of the standards defined by the HSE.

Services include:

If you'd like to find out more, or arrange for any of our mental health at work services, then please get in touch.


Call Paul on 07434 776125

Find Out More About Mental Health at Work Services

If you'd like to find out more about how we can help your business to manage mental health at work issues, or to discuss our training services, then please get in touch here.

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