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New mental health code of practice launched for the workplace

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BSI, the business standards company, has launched a new code of practice for organisations to help tackle a crisis in the mental health and wellbeing of Britain’s workforce.


The code of practice, PAS 3002, provides recommendations to establish, promote, maintain and review the health and wellbeing of workers within an organisation.

It considers how health and wellbeing should be incorporated into the working environment and how leadership can ensure health and wellbeing related services are available to employees.

The BSI says development of the code was motivated by increasing stress in the workplace and an increased awareness of mental illness; growing support and encouragement for a diverse workforce; an increasingly ageing workforce and a trend towards employees staying in work for longer.

Health and wellbeing should be everyone’s concern within an organization. Photograph: iStock

According to the ONS 137 million working days were lost to sick leave in the UK in 2016. The cost of ‘presenteeism’ – where employees attend work whilst ill and do not work efficiently – has also risen sharply in recent years. Eighty six per cent of people in CIPD’s 2018 survey said they had observed presenteeism in their organisation over the last 12 months, compared with 72 per cent in 2016 and just 26 per cent in 2010.

Anne Hayes, head of governance and resilience at BSI, said: “Health and wellbeing should be everyone’s concern within an organization. Increasingly, organizations are being asked to meet their responsibilities in relation to health and wellbeing in order to provide healthy workplaces and to protect people from harm.

“Enhancing employee wellbeing and engagement is at heart of this code of practice, and PAS 3002 provides guidance for organisations to provide early intervention to help prevent people being absent for health reasons and to use the workplace to promote individual health and wellbeing.”

Organisations involved in the development of PAS 3002 included: The Centre for Ageing Better; The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF); Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD); Council for Work and Health; Hitachi Europe; Nestle and Public Health England.

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