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Step 1: Identify the risk factors

Management Standards
  1. Identify the risk factors

    Step 1 - Identify the stress risk factors: understand the Management Standards.
  2. Who can be harmed and how

    Step 2 - Decide who might be harmed and how: gather data.
  3. Evaluate the risks

    Step 3 - Evaluate the risks: explore problems and develop solutions.
  4. Record your findings

    Step 4 - Record your findings: develop and implement action plans.
  5. Monitor and review

    Step 5 - Monitor and review: monitor and review action plans and assess effectiveness.

It is important that members of the steering group, and all others involved in the process, understand the Management Standards themselves.

The Management Standards highlight the six main risk factors for work related stress

The ‘states to be achieved’ that accompany each of the standards highlight good management practice in each of these areas, Reference to each of the ‘states to be achieved’ should be made at each step of the Management Standards approach.

The ‘states to be achieved’ describe the organisational behaviour that must be present to achieve the respective standard. They describe good management practice in each of the six areas of the Management Standards.

Understand how the Management Standards translate to your organisation

The six broad risk factors overlap each other to some extent, and they do not always act on their own often they combine or interact. Try to think of the issue of 'job design' as a whole as much as you can. Avoid trying to take action on one element of work at a time. A total approach, bearing in mind the influence of the other factors, is likely to produce the best result.

By necessity the states to be achieved are high level and aspirational. It is useful at this stage to consider how these statements could be applied in your operational situation. That is, what would a particular state look like in your organisation? The HSE does not expect every employer to meet all the Standards at their first attempt. They represent the target for the organisation, goals that employers should be working towards through an ongoing process of risk assessment and continuous improvement.

Focus on organisational level issues

When assessing the risks to which your employees may be exposed it is important to focus on organisational level issues that have the potential to impact on group and possibly large numbers of employees, rather than individual employees.


Before you begin the next step you should have:

  • ensured that members of the steering group and all others involved in running the risk assessment process have a clear understanding of the Management Standards approach or your own risk assessment approach, including:
    • the six broad risk factors for work related stress
    • how the approach translates to your organisation
    • how to compare your organisation's performance with the 'good management practice' the approach represents
    • risks for work related stress that may be specific to your organisation or workplace
    • focusing on preventing and managing the root causes of work- related stress
    • focusing on exploring organisational level issues

You are now ready to move on to Step 2, Decide who might be harmed, and how.

Updated 2012-12-04