Latest regulatory updates

Last updated 24th October 2019Kurt Janson

Kurt Janson, Director of the Tourism Alliance, gives a monthly update on the latest regulatory changes affecting the hospitality industry. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the Pink Book of Legislation, we regret that we cannot be responsible for any errors. Read our full disclaimer

Health and safety includes mental health

As a tourism business, you will be aware that you have a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act to make sure that you undertake a Health and Safety Assessment of your premises.

These assessments usually focus on mitigating the risk from chemical, physical or electrical hazards on the premises, by making sure that there are proper procedures in place for working with potentially hazardous equipment or materials. They also ensure that equipment is in a good state of repair and staff have adequate protection and training. Essentially, things like providing gloves and goggles when someone is using commercial cleaners and making sure the person using the ride-on mower is trained on how to operate it safety.

However, what is sometimes overlooked is that you also have a legal duty to assess risks related to work-related stress and to adopt practices aimed at safeguarding the mental health of your staff.

There are six main areas where all employers need to assess the impact on the mental health of their employees, to ensure that they are fulfilling their duty of care:

  • Demands on employees

This means assessing each employee’s workload, target setting, work requirements and the workplace environment to make sure that they are not causing undue stress.

  • Control

This means assessing how much control staff feel they have over the way they work and their work environment.

  • Relationships

This means promoting a positive working environment that avoids conflict or harassment, either between employees or between employees and customers or contractors. It must be remembered that one person’s “jokes” or “banter” is another person’s harassment.

  • Support

This means that if an employee does encounter a problem, that the organisation provides support either through procedures or at least by having an environment where they feel that they can voice their concerns and that these concerns will be treated seriously.

  • Role

This means ensuring that employees have the confidence to know what their role is and the training to successfully fulfil it, as well as knowing the roles of the other employees so that conflict is avoided.

  • Change

This means having management, communication and support plans in place when the business is going through change (e.g., redundancies, expansion or being sold) and that staff understand their individual situation and can plan accordingly.

To help managers undertake this assessment, the Health and Safety Executive have produced a publication called Tackling work-related stress using the Management Standards approach: A step-by-step workbook