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Workplace risk assessments

Workplace risk assessments

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.

The Team Pressures Risk Assessment Tool provides a structure for managers to explore work pressures within their teams. It is designed as a proactive tool to:

  • Take a wider look at the team and identify areas that could be of concern (areas of excessivepressure or other difficulties)
  • Enable managers to identify foreseeable risks to the team
  • Implement a proactive action plan

The Workplace Team Risk Assessment is based on the HSE Management Standards. Six key areas of work are identified that are, if not managed, associated with work-related stress. Stress is defined as an adverse reaction to excessive pressure (HSE). It is not in itself a medical condition but, if not controlled, it can result in illness and sickness absence. Managers should also refer to the University’s Managing Mental Wellbeing and Stress at Work Standard.

Risk assessment is management responsibility but managers should involve the team in this process, to ensure that team members are able to convey their perceptions of work pressures and help to identify workable solutions. 

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.

 

To encourage and support an environment within the University that prevents ill-health and injury, the Health and Safety team have produced DSE guidance.