The Department of Labour prosecuted an accounting company under health and safety legislation for not managing their staff’s stress properly. The company was ordered to pay a total penalty of $9,294.  The penalty would have been higher but the Court took into account a confidential payment the company had already made to the employee following a personal grievance she took against them.  While all jobs contain levels of stress, employers can avoid prosecutions by taking simple steps to manage the things that cause significant stress.

The first step is to identify all the things that can cause stress; think about things like your staffs’ work content, work relationships, their involvement in what’s happening in your business including in things like health and safety management and the support they have.

The second step is to think of ways to manage the things that cause staff stress, by eliminating, isolating or minimising them.

The following are ten tips to help you look after your staff and avoid an expensive prosecution under the health and safety legislation for stress related illness or injury:

  1. Provide staff with information on stress symptoms;
  2. Make it easy for staff to talk to you about stress concerns;
  3. Have flexible work schedules;
  4. Have family-friendly workplaces;
  5. Familiarise yourself with work related stress counselling services that are available and use them where required;
  6. Make sure that staff take annual leave;
  7. Monitor the hours of staff and also their workload;
  8. Ensure staff have regular training and updating in the areas that they are working;
  9. Have strategies to encourage staff to communicate openly and honestly;
  10. Create a healthy work-plan for your business and act on it.

Lawyers experienced in this important area will be able to review your present arrangements and advise on how best to get fully compliant with health and safety requirements.  For more information or to take the first steps to protect your interests call Alan Knowsley on 04 4736850 or (email).