2. RISK ASSESSMENT
Work related stress learning material in this chapter intends to provide the basic qualifications/pre-requisites required by employees, employers, managers, supervisors, the self employe, apprentices an trainees to manage stress. Required qualifications are:
- assess stress-related risks
- having ability to listen, understand an analyse possible scenarios
- introduce measures to prevent work-related stress
The aim of this chapter is to develop knowledge and skills of reader in recognizing the indicators of work related stress, in assessing stress-related risks and in identifying and tackling the structural problems that cause stress in working life.
After study reader being able to assess risks at work and knows the process of risk assessment.
Company X is a subcontractor in the electronics industry. During the last two years orders have almost trebled and client demands for delivery time have shortened. Even though the company’s orders have increased only a few more employees have been recruited. The company follows a quality programme that separates operations into different parameters. Reports are conducted monthly on financial ratios, production quantity, turnaround time, delivery schedule met quality divergence and quality costs. Every six months data concerning employee satisfaction is collected with the help of an employee barometer and a personnel report is compiled annually.
During the last year the amount of quality divergence and quality costs has increased alarmingly. At the same time the amount of employee sick leave has grown. Staff feel strained and disputes between employees have increased. Teams blame each other for mistakes. Also the number of small accidents has increased. The company’s leader and management have started to be worried by the situation. The trade union representative has already raised issues and now customers have noticed that everything is not as it should be. The company’s leadership has decided to clarify the situation closely.
The Managing Director has invited the company’s key employees to form a workgroup. The group includes company leadership representation, selected employees from each department, trade union representation and occupational health representatives.
The Managing Director informs the group that a decision has been taken to perform a risk assessment. As the subject is new to everyone it is decided to organise internal training on the subject. After the training the group will assemble again and co- operate to prepare a timetable to realise the assessment plan and at the same time decide on the methods to be employed. During the planning stage tasks are to be distributed and with definition of who is responsible for what segments. When the plan is ready the realisation of the assessment will be started. Information will be collected by questionnaire, interviews and from activities of the members of the assessment group.
When the material has been collected an assessment summary and report is compiled. The assessment’s results show that most employees suffer from work-related stress. Stress occurs from a too heavy workload, insufficient resources and a constant rush. New employees have not been initiated to the company sufficiently well. Quality errors have led employees to become afraid of causing mistakes and to try to hide their mistakes by blaming others. Managers have not been interfering in problems, leaving employees to sort out disputes amongst themselves. This again has affected workplace relationships and has put a strain on the atmosphere.
The selected group still meets to cover the received results. The group has an active discussion about the assessment and raises important points for development. At the same time the group discusses the importance of development points and a realisation plan. As the results are created the group will still work to recommend actions to the company’s directors.
The Managing Director is very satisfied with the results of the assessment. Now he knows that while compiling an action plan, attention can be paid to exactly the right points to remedy the situation.