Mental Health Risk Management Plan

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					                                                                                      Appendix A

                             Mental Health Risk Management Plan

A1     Guidance for Managers: Risk Assessment of stress at work

This guidance note provides advice for managers on how to conduct a risk assessment of stress
at work in 5 clear stages using the risk management action plan at the end of this section. The
HSE has an on-line step by step guide stress risk assessment.

Much of the guidance in this policy amounts to good management practice. However the
advantage of adopting a risk based system for assessing stress in the workplace is that it is a
proactive approach aimed at preventing stress before it occurs.

The risk assessment should be a collaborative process within teams and should involve senior
managers. A risk assessment should be undertaken for each group of staff e.g. admin staff,
academic staff and research staff. In some circumstances it may be necessary for individuals.

A2     The 5 steps to risk assessment are:
      Identify the hazards
      Decide who might be harmed and how
      Evaluate the risk and take action
      Record your findings
      Review and monitor your assessment over time

A3    Identify the Hazards
The key work related factors with potential to cause stress in an organisation are:
     Demands of the job
     Job Role
     Control of work environment
     Relationships within the workplace
     Change
     Support & Organisational Culture

The HSE has issued guidance on management standards (pdf) employers should achieve in
order to minimise work related stress in each of these areas of work stressors.

A4     Decide who might be harmed and how
Some members of the team will be more vulnerable to developing work related stress than
others. In particular those who:
      have a history of significant or physical health problems
      have been absent work due to work-related stress or difficulties with coping in the past
      have personal difficulties which may be unrelated to work
      are inexperienced in their role
      are of a personality type which tends towards over work.

You may be aware of some of these factors in some of your staff, but if in doubt ask sensitively
and in confidence regarding the risks of work-related stress. Many people cope very well if they
know their manager is supportive.
                                                                                             Appendix A

A5       Evaluate The Risk And Take Action

a.       Gathering Data
It is a matter of personal choice how a manger gathers data about their team.
        Team discussion/focus groups
        Analysis of appraisal reports
        Analysis of sickness absence data
        Analysis of staff turnover
        Stress Questionnaires such as the HSE indicator tool (pdf)

Detailed guidance on gathering data is available on the HSE website

b.     Linking problems to solutions
The table below gives practical guidance on how tackle any problems identified.
Consider HSE guidance (pdf) on things that can be done to help you meet the management standards
HAZARD                                              HSE MANAGEMENT STANDARD

                                                    DEMANDS OF THEIR JOBS
    Too little time for task                       Prioritise tasks
                                                    Cut out unnecessary work
    Inadequate staffing                            Try to give warning of urgent or important jobs to enable
                                                    individuals to plan their work.

    Boring or repetitive work                      Job enrichment/ job rotation
                                                    Change the way jobs are done by moving people between jobs,
    Too little to do                               giving individuals more responsibility, increasing the scope of the
                                                    job, increasing the variety of tasks, giving a group of workers
                                                    greater responsibility for effective performance of the group

    Inadequate resources for task                  Analyse requirements for any project/task:
                                                                   Equipment/ tools
                                                                   staffing
                                                                   funds
    Supporting students                            Make staff aware of referral pathways to student services for
                                                    help with students with complex problems.-counselling, study
                                                    skills etc
                                                    Provide adequate information and training for personal tutors.
    Managing staff                                 Ensure all staff in management roles have adequate training and
                                                    support from senior colleagues in managing complex staff
                                                    Ensure managers know about central services (Educational
                                                    development, HR, finance, staff development, occupational
                                                    health, counselling, safety) available to support their work.
                                                    Have formal written procedures to help new managers.
    Employees experiencing excessive workloads     Review workload and demands regularly and as an integral part
                                                    of the appraisal and performance management process.
    Employees working under excessive pressure     Support staff in planning their work. Try to establish what
                                                    aspects of their job they find challenging. Redistribute work or
                                                    set different work priorities if not coping.
The physical working environment                    Make sure workplace hazards are properly controlled.
   poor temperature control                        Undertake risk assessments of work space and significant tasks
   noise
   lack of facilities for rest/breaks
   poor lighting
   poor ventilation
The psychological working environment               Assess risks, implement controls including appropriate training
       threat of aggression or violence
       verbal abuse
                                                                                                   Appendix A

HAZARD                                                    HSE MANAGEMENT STANDARD
B. CONTROL                                                EMPLOYEES INDICATE THEY HAVE A SAY IN HOW THEY
                                                          DO THEIR WORK
   Not being able to balance the demands of work and     Encourage a healthy work-life balance. Ensure staff take all their
    life outside work                                     allocated holiday allowance and distribute it sensibly across the

   Rigid work patterns                                   Try to provide some scope for varying working conditions and
   Fixed deadlines occurring in different parts of the   flexible work schedules (e.g. flexible working hours, working from
    academic year                                         home), and the scope for people to influence the way their jobs
   shift work                                            are done.
   lone work                                             This will increase their interest and sense of ownership. Avoiding
   Lack of control over work                             scheduling extra projects at busy times of the year.
   Conflicting work demands e.g. research and teaching   Set realistic deadlines for tasks.
                                                          Take into account that everyone is different, and try to allocate
                                                          work so that everyone is working in the way that helps them work
                                                          best and using their talents.
                                                          Be clear about tasks required
   Too much training for the job                         Make sure individuals are matched to jobs.
   Too little training for the job                       Analyse skills alongside the task.
                                                          Provide training for those who need more e.g. when introducing
   Skills not recognised –promotion prospects not        new technology
    recognised                                            Increase the scope of jobs for those who are over-trained.
   Over promotion                                        Consider mentoring to help less experience staff or those
   Other difficulties faced by area/team                 Discuss stress with the team to create a better understanding of
Details:                                                  the difficulties faced and the possible solutions available. This
                                                          type of approach can lead to providing a longer-term solution
                                                          and one that is shared and supported by the whole team.

C. ROLE                                                   EMPLOYEES INDICATE THEY UNDERSTAND THEIR ROLE
                                                          AND RESPONSIBILITIES
   Lack of clarity about job role                        Make sure everyone has a clearly defined job description/ role
                                                          Ensure new employees have a full induction.
                                                          Revise this when circumstances change eg promotion or
                                                          reorganisation of team
   Confusion about how everyone fits in i.e. ambiguity   Make sure that everyone has clearly defined objectives and
    about others’ roles                                   responsibilities linked to business objectives, and training on how
                                                          everyone fits in. Visual diagrams can help people’s
                                                          understanding of this.
   Conflicting demands                                   If reporting to more than one person ensure there are no
                                                          conflicting demands on the individual
                                                          Ensure all staff have an annual appraisal with clearly defined
                                                          objectives with realistic timelines.
                                                          Ensure staff can raise any concerns about conflicting demands
                                                          on their time.

                                                          SUPPORT AND INFORMATION FROM COLLEAGUES AND
   Lack of support from managers and co-workers.         Support and encourage staff, even when things go wrong.
                                                          Consider having regular one to one meetings with staff and
                                                          give regular constructive feedback on performance.
                                                          Consider introducing a mentoring scheme
   Employees unaware of support available to them        Ensure staff are aware of support services available to them -the
                                                          Staff Counsellor, Occupational Health Service, Chaplaincy ,HR
                                                          and Trade Unions
                                                          Ensure staff know how to access resources needed to undertake
   Lack of communication and consultation                Introduce clear objectives, good communication and close
                                                          employee involvement, particularly during periods of change.
                                                          Hold regular team meetings.
                                                                                                         Appendix A

HAZARD                                                          HSE MANAGEMENT STANDARD

   Failure to celebrate success                                Acknowledge and reward successes in your staff.

   A culture that considers stress a sign of weakness          Be approachable – create an atmosphere where people feel it is
                                                                OK to talk to you about any problems they are having. Have an
                                                                open door policy
                                                                Be understanding towards people who admit to being under too
                                                                much pressure.
   An expectation that people will regularly work              Avoid encouraging people to work excessively long hours.
    excessively long hours or take work home with them.         Lead by example.

                                                                Schedule work in a way that allows recovery time after
                                                                unavoidable busy periods

E. RELATIONSHIPS                                                EMPLOYEES INDICATE THEY ARE NOT SUBJECTED TO
                                                                UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOURS

   Poor relationships with others                              Provide training in interpersonal skills.
                                                                Engage in team-building activities, both informal through social
                                                                events and formal such as an away day.

   Student / Client complaints                                 Provide clear information for clients/students. Consider student
                                                                support needs. The student counselling service provides
                                                                information and training for staff in personal tutoring.

   Combative or confrontational communication styles           Encourage constructive and positive communications between
                                                                staff. Managers should discuss and address combative and/or
                                                                confrontational communication styles with members of staff who
                                                                display these behaviours.
                                                                Consider training in managing conflict

   Bullying, racial or sexual harassment                       Set up effective systems to prevent bullying and harassment.
                                                                Ensure staff are aware of City's policies on equal
                                                                opportunities and harassment and know how to get support.
                                                                Practise by example and make it clear that these behaviours are
                                                                not acceptable in your team.

D. CHANGE                                                       EMPLOYEES INDICATE THAT THE ORGANISATION
                                                                ENGAGES FREQUENTLY WITH THEM WHEN UNDERGOING
                                                                ORGANISATIONAL CHANGE
                                                                  Consult with staff likely to be involved in a change
   Poor communication         -uncertainty about   what   is      management programme – if staff feel included and
    happening                                                      acknowledged in the process they are more likely to
                                                                   cooperate with a change.
   Fears about job security                                      Provide timely information so they have time to
                                                                   understand the reasons for change
   Not enough time allowed to implement change                   Provide effective support for staff throughout the process.
                                                                  Getting together as a team can help people feel less
   Inexperience/fear of new technology                            isolated with their concerns
                                                                  Ensure effective two way communication throughout
   Lack of skills for new tasks                                   process – knowing exactly what is going to happen when
                                                                   can help people feel less anxious about a change. Consider
   Not enough resource allocated for change process               developing a timetable of the change process
                                                                  Allow adequate time for the process – time planning for the
   Dysfunctional teams                                            change and for people to talk through their concerns about
                                                                   the change will pay off at a later stage
                                                                  Allocate adequate resources – this includes financial
                                                                   resources, space, time and the emotional energy needed to
                                                                   effect the change
                                                                  Consider training needs – do people have the tools to effect
                                                                   change? Does the skill mix of the team need to be
                                                                                               Appendix A

HAZARD                                              HSE MANAGEMENT STANDARD
                                                          Consider environmental factors – a poor work
                                                           environment can be very stressful.
                                                          Consider changes in group dynamics – an apparently
                                                           small change e.g. a different positioning of desks can have a
                                                           major impact on communication and work relationships

A6      Record your findings
If your risk assessment has identified areas of concern and you have taken steps to develop
some solutions, it is important that you:

        record these and how you identified them;
        agree realistic timescales with staff
        share your plans with senior management
        communicate the outcome to your staff;
        decide how you are going to review the results.

The best method of achieving this is to write and disseminate an action plan.

An action plan is a key part of your risk assessment and should at least include the following:

        what the problem is;
        how the problem was identified;
        what you are going to do in response;
        how you arrived at this solution;
        some key milestones and dates for them to be reached;
        a commitment to provide feedback to employees on progress;
        a date for reviewing against the plan
        The plan should be signed and dated

A7       Review your assessment and revise where necessary

        Follow up changes you make to ensure that they’re having the effect you intended.
        You might consider a follow up survey using the indicator tool (pdf) to measure progress
         since last assessment.
        Review what you’ve done when you make major changes in your workplace (e.g.
         organisational change, new equipment, work systems or processes) or if there is a
         change in management or personnel to make sure that stress has not increased.
        Review the assessment if anyone declares work related stress
        Review assessment at least once a year