Stress risk assessment

There are several different tools available to staff and managers which can be used according to the situation required. For further information on this you can contact the Safety, Health and Wellbeing Team via safety@exeter.ac.uk.

Wellbeing self-assessment tools

Wellbeing self-assessment tools can be a helpful way for individuals to check if they are effectively managing their own physical and mental health and get advice on how to make improvements. They provide tailored feedback along with guidance and recommendations. Employees can access wellbeing self-assessment tools here.Wellbeing self-assessment

Group based self-assessments

Managers can encourage all staff to carry out the self-assessment tools and use results in team meetings to agree positive wellbeing steps you can take as a team. Working as a team can help improve engagement, resilience and morale.

This will rely on staff being willing to carry out the assessment and share the results, but even if some of the team are willing, that would be a good place to start.

What this approach will do:

  • Develop a culture of openness and awareness of wellbeing / mental health
  • Encourage teamwork and engagement
  • Demonstrate management commitment to wellbeing

Team based assessments

For managers who would like to proactively review potential triggers of stress across the team as a whole, the workplace team assessment can be used (please see Workplace Team Risk Assessment Tool). This is a desk top exercise for the manager to carry out looking at the 6 essential stressors and the known workload, behaviours etc within the team. Actions can then be taken by the manager where possible risks have been identified. This is a very proactive step and an example of best practice.

What this approach will do:

  • Take a wider look at the team and areas that could be of concern;
  • Enable managers to identify foreseeable risks to the team;
  • Implement proactive actions.

Workplace pressures risk assessment

If a manager identifies that a member of staff is feeling stressed, there is a structured process in place to support employees to talk about it with the aim of identifying triggers and implementing reasonable adjustments.

There are different circumstances when a manager should be asking an employee to work with them on a Workplace Pressures Risk Assessment:

  1. An employee reports that they are struggling to cope / feeling stressed;
  2. An employee is absent from work due to stress. This discussion will form part of the plan to safely return the employee to work;
  3. As part of a recommendation from Occupational Health where Occupational Health feel that the employee would benefit from this level of support.

The Workplace Pressures Risk Assessment used is based on the Robertson Cooper “six essentials”. This assessment is based around a conversation with the employee to try and establish the underlying reasons/root cause(s) of their stress. The employee and manager (or chosen representative) will identify which areas to focus on based on the employee's responses to questions.

There is further guidance available to on how to carry out the assessment.

All managers are encouraged to attend the managing wellbeing training which aims to provide specific insight into how to manage wellbeing (including stress) and the steps to take to help an employee.

Completing a workplace pressures risk assessment will:

  • Encourage managers and employees to talk in a structured way about how the employee is feeling;
  • Reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation on the part of the employee and ensure that the manager has the opportunity to help;
  • Agree a planned set of interventions (reasonable adjustments) for the manager and employee;
  • To agree and arrange follow up meetings to continue to support the employee.