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Don't stress over amended Health and Safety Act

Organisations needn’t stress over amended Health and Safety Act

Stress expert and author of the Consumers’ Institute Less stress Book, Dave Winsborough, says smart organisations needn’t worry about the May 5 introduction of the amended Health and Safety in Employment Act.

The amended Act explicitly covers workplace stress as a hazard organisations must take “all practicable steps” to manage.

“The legislation should hold little fear for workplaces interested in
maintaining good productivity through good relationships with staff,” says Mr Winsborough, Managing Director of Wellington-based organisational psychology firm, Winsborough Limited.

“However, businesses that continue to let workplace stress go unchecked will see staff health suffer, work quality deteriorate and run the risk of OSH or Employment Court prosecution.

“Such organisations are generally out of touch with staff and modern HR practices, have no systematic approach to assessing stress and other workplace hazards and haven't engaged in proactive training in stress resilience,” he says.

Winsborough Limited recently launched its Stress and Resilience Programme for public and private sector organisations serious about putting systems in place to better manage workplace stress.

Mr Winsborough says the programme distinguishes between the traditional “bottom of the cliff” approach to dealing with stress versus building resilience.

“Resilience is a positive mental approach, a balanced approach to work and life and emotional control,” he says.

“While you can’t teach people to stop stressing you can train them to become more resilient. This involves staff taking responsibility for their own emotional strength and coping mechanisms, creating more productive work environments and healthy outcomes. more/

“Organisations such as IBM - which is using the Stress and Resilience Programme - work with staff to build resilience by systematically reviewing and managing workplace stress,” Mr Winsborough says.

Formerly a clinical psychologist, Dave Winsborough has treated dozens of clients suffering the ill effects of stress. He can recount horror stories relating to the most severe cases.

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