The CIPD has unveild a new guide highlighting the potential legal risks employers face if they ignore their health and safety responsibilities in regards to workplace stress.

The guide outlines what employers are legally obliged to do in regards to identifying and  preventing stress at work and is throurogly supported by  Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Acas and the cross-government Health.
The guide, Work-related Stress: What the Law Says, which was written by John Hamilton, head of safety, health and wellbeing at Leeds Metropolitan University, also highlights recent cases where employers have faced significant compensation payouts for failing to identify and prevent stress in the proper manner.

In addition, it provides advice on how employers can tackle stress through good people management.

Dame Carol Black, national director for health and work, said: “It is in employers’ interests to manage stress at work proactively and not just assume all staff are coping, particularly in a tough economic environment where many employees are under pressure to do more with less.”

The CIPD’s quarterly July 2010 Employee Outlook survey showed almost half (49%) of staff have noticed an increase in stress at work, which they feel is  a result of the economic downturn.

Ben Willmott, senior public policy adviser, CIPD, added: “Employers that fail to manage stress effectively risk losing key staff through high absence levels and employee turnover. They will also suffer from low staff morale and risk higher levels of conflict and accidents in the workplace. In addition, they potentially face costly personal injury claims, as well as damage to their employer brand.”