Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association :: View topic - Stress In Perspective

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Joined: Mar 27, 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Wakefield, South Yorkshire
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:09 am Reply with quote Back to top
I wonder if any of you can help me? I recently volunteered to be trained as a Stress Assessor within our organisation and my manager advised I booked on the IOSH 'Stress In Perspective' course that he'd been on some years previous. However when I contacted IOSH they informed me that they no longer run those courses and couldn't suggest an alternative supplier.

Does anyone have any details of anywhere in the Yorkshire/ Derbyshire area where I could get training on stress assessments?

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Executive Committee
Executive Committee

Joined: Mar 11, 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Chesterfield, Derbyshire
PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:08 pm Reply with quote Back to top
Can I start by saying that I see this whole stress assessment thing as a load of old hokey. I really don't think that you need to go on a course at all.

Here's my view on the whole thing. Firstly stress as we choose to call it shouldn't sit with the safety function,nor the health function either for that matter.

Firstly we need to really consider organisational pressure. Forget the individual for the second OK?

Those who run the business ultimately create the conditions in which it operates. New ventures, less people, lower wages, higher wages, more people etc. Now, someone has to make these decisions, usually a board or the owner. That sets the tone if you like, but these people cannot be hamstrung by saying OK I know times are hard, but if you announce redundancies some people will get stressed! It's change or go bust sometimes.

So there's level 1. The decision makers. You can ask yourself about the way in which they do that. Are they open or is there a feeling of secrecy?
Lots of questions to ask there.

Next we have the operational management. Just how are the board's decisions implemented? Are changes widely consulted over? Are people made redundant on Friday via text message? Is there open honest consultation? OK people are still going to go but is it a fair hearing? Again many questions to ask at that level. From both sides. How do managers see themselves and how do employees see them?

You see for me, this STRESS idea comes in three parts. Creation, recognition and treatment.

You can't run a business without some pressure in it. But identifying that something is going to cause additional and clear pressure across the workforce is important and must go hand in hand with recognising the early signs and symptoms within the work force. Not individuals at this stage but across the whole team.

Then individual managers need to be able to recognise those individuals who are maybe more vulnerable, more affected etc and get to them early. This is all about prevention.

Ok now at some point the wheels are going to come off and an individual may suffer some sort of effect. At this point some treatment will be necessary in line with the symptoms. Should it all go pear shaped then there will need to be some sort of recovery and rehabilitation. That's all tertiary. In my view the first two parts are utterly to do with management. But what happens is we only look at the third stage, give it to safety or health and say, stress is all yours mush.

Well it's not.

So when we talk about stress assessments it's rubbish. They aren't stress assessments, it's an examination of how well the business is run in relation to change management. I just don't think that the title Stress Assessor is valid. Not unless you are a psycho therapist. When we get to a point where a person is experiencing real difficulties, we are into the province of the trained professional meaning that in reality stages one and two are the only areas we should be assessing and analysing.

Now unless your business is going through difficult times or has something it's struggling with, why would you be doing this piece of work?

There's no requirement to have stress assessments just for the sake of it.

Conclusions are something along the lines of

1. We don't create much pressure
2. We do create pressure but we manage change sympathetically
3. We create change but manage it badly and it affects people.

My view anyway. Hope that adds something.

Trying to bring a sense of proportion to all of this.
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