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RR1053 Development of an intervention toolbox for common health problems in the workplace

The Management Standards (MS) approach is a key component of the HSE’s ‘stress toolbox.’ It was developed to reduce the levels of work-related stress reported/experienced by working people in Britain. Although a study by Cox et al, 2009 identified a number of weaknesses and limitations in the current version of the Management Standards, research suggested that there were good prospects for correcting these and building on them to evolve a more generic toolbox.

The aim of the project was to look at the feasibility of developing a toolbox for the management of common health problems in the workplace. Reliable and valid evidence identifies the two most common health problems at work as musculoskeletal disorders and psychological ill-health (stress, anxiety and depression). It was anticipated that the tool could bring together work on work-related stress (ie Management Standards) and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and contribute to HSE’s specific aim of developing the applicability of the Management Standards to a wider range of health issues in particular, to extend their scope to cover musculoskeletal disorders.

HSE has concluded that it was not possible to develop the simple health and safety toolbox as envisaged, as the ‘model’ moved into the ‘wellbeing’ area and away from HSE’s specific remit/responsibilities for workplace health-related issues. HSE acknowledges the work of the researchers and believes that others involved in this area of work are better placed to take forward some of the recommendations.

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Updated 2016-01-10