How much do you know about work-related stress and complying with law?

The impact of stress


Chronic stress can lead to…

Select your answer

Mental health issues like anxiety and depression

Physical health issues like diabetes, heart problems, digestion issues

Issues with alcohol or drug use

All of the above


Chronic stress experienced over time can lead to a whole host of physical and mental health issues.

Stress can effect anyone at any time but the good news is that it can prevented and managed.

Legal requirements


Do employers have a legal duty to do a risk assessment for work-related stress?

Select your answer

Yes, but it doesn’t have to be specific to work-related stress, it can be covered as part of a wider generic risk assessment

Only if the employer has 5 or more employees



All employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it. The risk assessment can be for work-related stress specifically or included in a wider generic assessment of the risks from workplace hazards.

Reach out


When should you talk to your workers about stress?

Select all that apply

Only at weekly team meetings

Only at performance review meetings

Only when someone is suffering work-related stress

Only when someone is returning from sickness caused by work-related stress

Only when they raise it

As often as possible



You should take every opportunity to ask how workers are doing, listen to their response and deal with them compassionately– all the other options are additional times you need to talk to them about their stress and mental health. There is no strict format to such conversations, the most important thing is that open and honest conversations take place frequently.  Taking regular small steps often makes a huge difference, so don’t wait until someone is having problems, prevention is key.



Which of the following are signs of stress in a worker?

Select all that apply

Being withdrawn

Taking more time off

Arriving for work later

More twitchy or nervous

Experiencing mood swings

Less motivated, committed or confident

More tearful, sensitive or aggressive


They are all common signs of stress; do you recognise any of these in your workers?

Recognising the signs of stress is key to supporting good mental health.

Stress affects us all at different times and in different ways and these are all signs of stress.

There are six main areas that cause issues if not managed well; demands, control, role, relationships, support and change. Keep an eye on your workers and keep talking to them.



If you discover that someone is experiencing stress or a mental health problem, they should be encouraged to talk to someone, who should this be?

Select your answer

Business owner

A manager

A colleague

A GP or health professional

Trade union representative or occupational health team

Any of the above


If work-related stress is affecting a worker’s health it is vital to seek appropriate medical advice. The earlier a problem is tackled the less impact it will have.

All employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it. If the cause of stress is work-related, managers and workers should agree together the steps to take to prevent and reduce that stress.

If the worker helps to decide how to tackle the problems, the steps taken will be more likely to be more effective.

If the causes are not work-related you should still try to support them, see Working Minds website for help.



You’ve had a chat, you’ve done your risk assessment and agreed some steps to take to prevent and reduce identified risk(s) of stress, now what?

Select all that apply

Record what you’ve done

Act on it - implement the steps where you have identified issues to tackle them

Agree a time to check back in to reflect and review how things are going

All of the above


Record what you have done, implement the steps for tackling identified risks and agree a time to reflect and review the situation later – make reviews part of your routine so that they don’t drop off the radar, especially when things change in the business.

Even if you employ fewer than 5 workers it’s still a good idea to record what you have done so you know what happened when you next assess the risks.

The important thing is to make talking about stress and how people are feeling and coping, normal.

Take regular opportunities to check-in on mental health and stress and make it routine.

Here are a few things you should be looking for and considering in your stress risk assessment:

Reach out and talk to workers to understand what’s going on for them.

Check sickness records, recognise any signs of stress in how people are behaving.

Are people leaving a specific job or team more regularly?

What problems are being experienced?

How many people are affected and where are the problems happening?

Are they due to the work or the workplace?

Respond, get feedback and input from workers about what could be done to prevent, reduce or tackle any problems identified.

Record what you’ve done and put a reminder in your diary to reflect and review the actions you’ve taken – if they’re not working revisit the problems and try again.

And finally, remember that talking about stress is not a one-off conversation - make it routine.