Positive Working Environment a Key Factor in Organisational Success

Health and Safety Authority launches European Week for Safety and Health at Work

Monday 19th October marks the beginning of this year’s ‘European Week for Safety and Health at Work’. The campaign theme is ‘Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress’ and the key message from the Health and Safety Authority is that a positive working environment has tangible benefits both for the organisation and for workers themselves.

Apart from the obvious personal benefits for workers, the advantages of a positive working environment for any organisation are significant and include increased productivity, lower rates of absenteeism due to ill-health and reduced staff turnover.

The Health and Safety Authority is encouraging managers to create positive working environments by taking practical steps that make workers feel valued, willing and able to fully contribute to organisational success. This can be done by managing excessive workloads, setting clear goals, giving regular feedback, recognising strong performance and ensuring consistent and fair management actions.

Speaking about this year’s campaign theme, Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, said, “In Ireland and across Europe, psychosocial hazards such as stress are considered to be the most challenging of all workplace hazards to address. Unfortunately there is still a stigma associated with mental health issues but employers need to be aware of the signals and take a proactive approach, just as they would for any other workplace safety and health hazard”.

Martin O’Halloran says that, with the proper management, short-term stress can be prevented from becoming a long-term problem. “In today’s modern workplace a certain level of pressure is completely normal and to be expected. However, when this pressure develops into a persistently stressful working environment, with little or no supports in place, people can find it difficult to cope and some may develop a range of health issues as a result. And, as with most potential health issues, it is much better to take a preventative approach”.

The HSA has developed a free ‘Work Positive Profile’ online tool that can be used to monitor and manage organisational stress. The tool provides instant confidential feedback on the health and wellbeing of your workforce and helps management develop plans to deal with any issues identified. The free tool can be accessed at www.workpositiveprofile.com. Further guidance on how to create healthy workplaces can be found at www.hsa.ie and https://www.healthy-workplaces.eu/en.