The Role of the HSA

Stress is not reportable to the HSA. No illnesses are reportable and stress, not actually being an illness is not reportable. There is no duty on employers to report absences due to stress. There is no method for investigating stress on a par with investigating accidents. However, employers are bound under the 2005 Act to protect employees from all hazards which can lead to injury. A stressor is a potential hazard which can lead to personal injury in the form of mental ill health. Risk assessments should include assessments of stressors in the work environment, control measures and monitoring and review, in consultation with staff.

The HSA give information and advice to individuals and to groups on the topic and we advise and assist employers in putting in place a system for addressing and controlling stress. We also develop tools to be used to assess stress in organisation. Work Positive is one tool that informs employers and employees about Work-related Stress and also involves a questionnaire, which identifies where the main sources of stress are coming from within a company. It has been widely used in Irish organisations and will soon be used in the UK too. We have noted that one of the main causes of stress is bullying and we have in place best practice systems for dealing with bullying in order to minimise the stress that it causes.