Changes to health and safety legislation over the last couple of years have seen a fairly rapid change in mindset towards safeguarding staff safety. However, safeguarding staff health has been a lesser concern. Particular emphasis needs to be around stress, fatigue, and anxiety.
In 2017, Business New Zealand, in conjunction with Southern Cross Healthcare, undertook its third annual Wellness in the Workplace Survey. The survey results highlight that the main cause of stress in the workplace is General Workload (68%), followed by Family Relationships (49%), and Pressure to Meet Work Targets (41%), rounding out the top three causes.
The Health and Safety at Work Act is quite clear:
- Subpart 2 outlines the duty of care requirements for a PCBU (person conducting business or undertaking);
- Subsection 3 (g) states “that the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace are monitored for the purpose of preventing injury or illness of workers arising from the conduct of the business or undertaking”;
- Section 16 states the interpretation “health means physical and mental health“.
Therefore, psychological stressors in the workplace must be treated as hazards. Of course, such stressors occur outside the workplace as well, which can lead to problems when determining the causes of stress.
Employment New Zealand makes the point: “An employer may ask an employee who says they have workplace stress to see a doctor to be properly diagnosed and ‘confirm the reason for the stress’, but the employee is under no obligation to do this. However, an employee has a duty to report any workplace threat to their health and safety, which may include stress.”.
Take a proactive approach to stress in the workplace by having a chat with the team at Working Wise. We can help with introducing positive, low-cost engagement solutions to address common issues; solutions which result in happier employees, and more efficient operation of your business. Get in touch today by phoning the team on 04 499 0710, or by completing our online contact form.