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Controlling occupational related factors

Risk assessments will identify possible factors in the workplace that may cause or exacerbate mental ill-health. Mechanisms for identifying other sources of intelligence may include collated data on sickness absence, performance or worker retention rates and from speaking with workers, either face-to-face (one-to-one or in a group) or via worker surveys.

Some of the most common factors found in the workplace that can lead to mental ill-health and some preventative and adjustment examples are detailed below.

Causes and controls  
Cause Control suggestions
Occupational environments
  • make environments more friendly if possible, by encouraging face-to-face interaction and approachable workspaces
  • consider offering a temporary reserved parking bay to make it easier for workers with mental ill-health to attend work
  • offer flexible working where possible
  • consider increasing workers’ work space
  • locate workers away from noisy practices (eg machinery) that may aggravate mental ill-health symptoms
  • introduce and provide a private space where workers can retreat to rest, talk in private, concentrate or consolidate thoughts and emotions
Other policies, eg bullying and harassment, equality and diversity, violence and aggression
  • extend paid or unpaid leave during a medical or related absence-
  • allow additional time to encourage workers to meet performance targets or objectives
  • allow workers to take or make reasonable personal phone calls throughout the day if required
Support and assistance
  • assign workers mentors, managers, mental health first aiders (MHFAs) or mental health champions (MHCs) to provide help and support when required
  • ensure senior management arrange regular one-to-one meetings with managers to discuss worker progress and to help prioritise tasks
  • offer additional training and information based on workers’ duties and tasks if required
  • offer to signpost workers to supportive services