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Human Resources 
Management of Stress at Work Policy  
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                           Management of Stress at Work Policy          
                           March 2016 

This document outlines the policy for the prevention and management of stress at work 
in for London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 
The School is committed to maintaining the health and safety of its employees in the 
work environment. The School recognises that this duty of care extends to 
psychological health as well as physical health. Employees also have a duty of care to 
report aspects of work that may affect their health and safety as required by the Health 
and Safety at Work Act 1974. The School and its employees have a responsibility to 
identify and manage work related stress by working in partnership.  
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999) imposes a duty on 
employers to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. This duty extends to 
psychological risks to health and is a statutory duty for all employers.  
All employees within the School may be exposed to stress. Non-work related stress 
issues can combine with work related stress to produce pressures which can be 
detrimental to the physical and/or mental wellbeing of employees and to the smooth 
running of the School.  
The Health and Safety Executive defines stress as: “A reaction people have when 
excessive pressures or demands are placed upon them, and arises when an individual 
believes they are unable to cope” The common term for these pressures or demands 
is "stressors" and a person's reactions to stressors are termed "stress responses."  
Pressure is part and parcel of all works and helps keep us motivated. But excessive 
stressors particularly over a period of time can lead to stress which undermines 
performance and can become detrimental to health. It is important to remember that 
reaction to stress is a very individual experience. Individual stress can be influenced 
by our own beliefs, attitudes and unrealistic expectations of others. Individual reaction 
to stressful situations may also be influenced by our conditioning, cultural background, 
education, life experiences, states of health and personality type. 
This policy applies to all employees of the School and all those carrying out duties on 
behalf of the School.  
All employees are entitled to access to this policy which is located on the School’s 
Intranet. Copies are also available from the Human Resources Department and any 
employee can seek guidance from line management, their trade union representative 
or the Human Resources Department.  
5.1.   To work in partnership with employees and the Trade Union Representatives to 
develop working practices that reduce the factors that may lead to stress in the 
workplace and to ensure that appropriate risk assessments are undertaken so as to 
reduce and control the risk of stress. These risk assessments will be regularly reviewed 
in particular during periods of organisational change and changes in work demands.  
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                           Management of Stress at Work Policy          
                           March 2016 

To manage stress through both effective leadership and management practices by 
providing training for managers and supervisors and by encouraging employees to 
recognise and to be involved in the management of stressors which affect them.  
To provide adequate resources to enable the Health and Safety Committee to develop 
effective procedures to reduce and manage work related stress in order to support 
individuals who may be affected.  
To provide employees with information/training on the management of work related 
stress and to offer access to immediate support through their line manager, and 
Occupational Health.  
To provide employees with ongoing support through managers, Human  
Resources advice, Occupational Health and access to access to mediation, 
confidential counselling.  
The School’s Senior Management Team has a responsibility to ensure that the general 
principles of this policy are followed and that:  
•  They are fully implemented and supported by Directors and Heads of 
•  The duty of care under current legislation is fully complied with;  
•  Encourage and support activities that aid the promotion of employees’ health 
and wellbeing. 
Managers responsibilities are to:  
•  Attend training and updates as required by the School in order to raise personal 
awareness and deliver effective management practices and implementation of 
specific action plans and interventions for reducing and managing work related 
•  At the request of Occupational Health, the employee or as identified by the 
manager, undertake work related stress risk assessments in a timely manner 
within their working areas and act on their recommendations where possible;  
•  Ensure that employees have had appropriate training to carry out their duties;  
•  Monitor planned workloads;  
•  Monitor working hours, overtime working and the taking of annual leave to 
ensure that employees comply with the current policies relating to annual leave 
and working hours management;  
•  Offer support to employees that maybe experiencing identified stress outside 
of work e.g. bereavement or family issues;  
•  Ensure that all employees declaring/identifying anxiety/stress/depression are 
referred immediately to Occupational Health.  
The responsibilities of the Human Resources Department are to:  
•  Provide guidance to managers and employees on the School’s policies related 
to the management of work related stress;  
•  Assist and support the implementation of the stress management standards 
within the School;  
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Management of Stress at Work Policy
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•  Monitor the effectiveness of measures to address stress by collating statistical 
sickness absence evidence;  
•  Provide, in conjunction with the Occupational Health Services, continuing 
support to managers and employees in a changing environment and 
encourage access to  counselling and other support services as appropriate;  
•  Keep the provisions within this policy in line with employment legislation and 
best practice people management principles.  
The responsibilities of the Health and Safety Committee are to:  
•  Contribute to arrangements to ensure this policy is implemented across the 
•  Monitor and review the effectiveness of measures to reduce stress at work;  
•  Contribute to the provision of information to the Senior Management Team, 
regarding the implementation, efficacy of this policy and the measures in place 
within the school to reduce and manage work related stress 
The responsibilities of the Occupational Health Department are to:  
•  Provide specialist advice and training as required including training on stress 
awareness in self and others;  
•  Contribute to training and support of managers in the implementation of the 
stress management standards;  
•  Provide, in conjunction with the Human Resources Department, monitoring of 
levels of occurrence of stress and other illnesses associated with stress; 
•  Contribute to sickness absence management by engagement with employees 
who have been off sick with stress and their managers to provide advice and/or 
recommendations for a return to work plan;  
•  Advice on support services such as mediation, the Human Resources 
Department, Counselling service and any other external agencies as required;  
•  Work in conjunction with the Health and Safety Committee and where 
applicable on developments in stress at work activity;  
•  Support the School in ensuring that all relevant legislation and standards are 
adhered to.  
The responsibilities of all employees and all those carrying out duties on behalf of the  
School are to:  
•  Familiarise themselves with information regarding the management of stress 
at work and School policies and procedures provided at induction and in the 
local work environment;  
•  Be aware of their own responsibility for health and safety at work;  
•  Inform their manager and where applicable the Human Resources  
Department and the Occupational Health Department if they are experiencing 
difficulties at work which are or could result in work related stress.  
In addition to this, they should recognise that they are able to:  
•  Raise concerns with their line manager, the Occupational Health  
Department or the Human Resources Department regarding any physical or 
psychological stress symptoms which affect them at work;  
•  Avail themselves of support mechanisms when recommended e.g. mediation 
and should accept opportunities for counselling/therapy when recommended.  
The responsibilities of the Safety/Trade Union Representatives are to:  
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Management of Stress at Work Policy
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•  Work in partnership with management to ensure that the general principles of 
this policy are adhered to;  
•  Be involved in the risk assessment process when applying the stress 
management standards;  
•  Be allowed access to statistical and anonymous data concerning stress related 
•  Attend training and updates as required by the School in order to raise personal 
awareness and contribute to the development and implementation of this 
Managers, the HR department and trade union representatives are responsible for 
providing advice and guidance to employees on the application of this policy and 
procedure, as well as bringing any mutually beneficial improvements to this policy to 
the attention of the School.  
To provide a good bench mark by which to assess the School’s current position and to 
measure the effectiveness of its training and the support mechanisms the School will 
use any anonymised information such as annual staff survey data, return to work 
8. RISK 
The Health and Safety Executive requires every employer to conduct risk assessments 
for health and safety hazards including work related stress.  
Risk management is part of every managers day to day responsibilities, it should 
inform judgements about the appropriateness of policy options and/or service delivery 
methods, and as such should be integral to both strategic and operational 
Stress risk assessments should be carried out by managers on the identification or 
notification of a hazard.  
The School is committed to adhering to these HSE requirements in carrying out risk 
assessments and following the HSE recommendations of a five step approach when 
implementing risk assessments:  
Step 1 – identify hazards  
Step 2 – assess the risks to health – who might be harmed and how  
Step 3 - evaluate the risk and identify actions – develop control measures  
Step 4 – record findings and implement action plan  
Step 5 – monitor and evaluate effectiveness, communicate results  
Managers should meet with staff in groups and individually to help identify areas of 
concern.  Issues relating to wider work processes may be risk assessed as department 
issues, however issues relating to personal concerns of staff should be examined in a 
confidential environment again using the above parameters. 
It may also be necessary to undertake a stress risk assessment of an area or a review 
of department or work processes.  In addition to individuals raising concerns, 
managers may become aware of potential issues relating to stress from department 
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meetings, sickness absence rates, and general morale.  This may also be considered 
when initiating new work processes. 
Individual risk assessments should be completed (Appendix 6) where an individual 
reports work-related stress. This assessment may be completed with the individual with 
the support of the line manager or by Occupational Health.  
Where there are cases of work-related stress in a department this should also act as a 
trigger for the completion of a departmental risk assessment identified in Appendix 7. 
Occupational Health should also be notified as they may advise further assessment 
using the HSE on-line assessment tool. The process for management action is 
summarised in Appendix 4. 
Stress related illnesses can be managed from three perspectives, by way of 
organisational, managerial and/or personal self-management (see Appendix 3).  
When carrying out a risk assessment management and employees can identify any 
work related stress using the non-exhaustive list of stressors at Appendix 2.  
Once a stress related illness has been identified, it is important that managers, 
employees and all those carrying out duties on behalf of the School which could include 
normal day to day responsibilities.  
As stress is an individual response to a perceived pressure people will have different 
coping thresholds and it can be difficult to predict who is likely to suffer with stress. A 
further complication is that people have different coping thresholds depending on other 
circumstances in their lives. It should therefore be remembered that stress can be 
accumulative and is not necessarily predictable.  
Good management techniques should alert managers to changes in their employees, 
such as, personality changes, performance etc. that may indicate that an individual is 
unable to cope with the workload. However some people will not display overt signs 
and managers cannot always predict when someone is stressed. Often the first 
indication is when an episode of sickness occurs with stress/anxiety or depression on 
the certificate. Once alerted to a potential issue, managers should immediately discuss 
this with the employee concerned and complete a referral to Occupational Health for 
ongoing support. Referral forms can be found on the School’s intranet.  
If an individual feels they are experiencing work-related stress they should report to 
their manager, if appropriate, in order that a referral is made to Occupational Health 
and an individual risk assessment is carried out. 
Individuals can also seek confidential advice on the management of work-related 
stress from Occupational Health. The Health and Safety Executive has extensive 
information on their web site on work-related stress which can be found at 
Once a risk assessment has been undertaken and the outcomes implemented a review 
date should be set. If issues are still ongoing the Human Resources or Occupational 
Health department should be contacted for further advice.  
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Document Outline