The Stress Indicator Tool

Supporting resources

We are pleased to provide a wealth of supporting resources to help you build a firm foundation for your first assessment using the Stress Indicator Tool. We include example correspondence and publicity materials to help you engage with employees, as well as guidance to help you achieve success with your surveys. You may not need to use them all but this document will explain what the tools are and how to use them.

We've tried to make the documents customisable where possible, to allow you to tailor them according to your organisation's details. To help with this, we've highlighted the text that will need changing - [example].

The management standards

The management standards are a set of guidance; however, employers already have the following duties:

  • under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999: to assess the risk of stress-related ill health arising from work activities
  • under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974: to take measures to control that risk.

You can view the management standards on the HSE website (opens in new window).

Build the business case

As you know your organisation best, you should have some idea about what factors will secure commitment to tackling stress at the highest level in your organisation. This information may help you when developing a business case for senior managers.

SIT Build the Business Case (DOCX 105KB) (opens in new window)

Securing management commitment

Many employers across the UK are already committed to tackling stress at work. Some are motivated to do this simply by the desire to be recognised as a good employer. The information here may also help you to tackle stress at the highest level in your organisation (opens in new window).

Identifying the risk factors - checklists

We've collated a few checklists to help you to follow the management standards' risk assessment approach and ensure you're following guidelines before proceeding to the next stage.

SIT Checklist (PDF 127 KB) (opens in new window)

Example stress policy

This policy (example here (opens in new window)) will help everyone in the company. Managers are responsible for implementation and the company is responsible for providing the necessary resources.

Are you doing enough to reduce work-related stress?

Taking you through a series of questions related to the management standards for tackling workrelated stress, this checklist highlights key objectives for prevention (opens in new window).

Roles and responsibilities

It's important that individuals across your organisation are involved and committed to engage employees to undertake the Stress Indicator Tool survey. We provide guidance on the various roles and responsibilities to identify how individuals can help to make the survey a success. We recognise that not all organisations have all these roles and some roles maybe combined; these are only guidelines to be adapted accordingly. This is a Microsoft Word file that can be cut and pasted and given to relevant individuals.

Roles and responsibilities (DOCX 27KB) (opens in new window)

Steering group rules of engagement

This contains suggestions about how you can form and run an effective steering group (opens in new window). It includes the roles and responsibilities of the steering group and some ground rules. If you decide to set up a steering group it's important that its members are drawn from across the workforce, not just management.

How to organise and run focus groups

Focus groups can form an important part of the process of using the management standards to assess and control risks related to work-related stress. In the guidance here we provide you with a step-by-step guide to running focus groups (opens in new window) and help to translate the results into action.


You can provide links to these two short videos to increase awareness in your workforce:

The stress workbook

This will help your organisation meet its legal duty to assess the risks to its employees from workrelated stress and gives advice and practical guidance on how to manage it. It promotes the management standards approach to tackling work-related stress. It uses a clear step-by-step method of implementing an organisational procedure for managing stress. It includes checklists to make sure you've completed each stage before you move to the next. HSE's stress webpages support the workbook with other guidance and tools. The workbook will also be useful to organisations choosing to use an alternative approach, and provides advice on ensuring their approach is suitably equivalent - many of the practical solutions may also be applicable.

Or purchase a copy here.

Managing work-related stress as part of a prevention culture

This white paper (opens in new window) presents a summary of stress in the workforce.

Managing instances of stress - the talking toolkit

The talking toolkit (opens in new window) helps employers to start the conversation about work-related stress with employees. This is an important first step towards prevention and developing the actions and stress risk assessment employers need to comply with the law.

Employers should not use the talking toolkit as their only response if there is an existing problem with work-related stress in the organisation. It is provided for line managers to help them have simple, practical conversations with employees.

Workforce briefing messages

This contains four examples of the messages you should send to your workforce before, during and after the survey. You'll need to tailor the messages according to your needs. The messages are intended to be sent by email but they're still relevant if you want to deliver them by other means.

  • Message 1 Provides a brief introduction to the survey and why it's important. It also tells your workforce the date of the survey and how to complete it. This may be the first time that most of your workforce will have heard of the Stress Indicator Tool survey. You should issue message 1 shortly before you open the survey.
  • Message 2 Lets your workforce know that the survey is now live. It also assures them that the survey is anonymous, which is important. You should issue message 2 on the first day of the survey.
  • Message 3 Reminds your workforce about the survey, why it's important and how to access it. You should issue message 3 around halfway through the survey.
  • Message 4 Tells your workforce the survey has closed and thanks them for completing it. It also lets them know they'll be kept updated. You should issue message 4 just before you close the survey.

SIT_Workforce_Briefing_Messages (DOCX 22KB) (opens in new window)

Intranet pages

We've included three examples of intranet pages for you to tailor to your own requirements. You'll need to discuss these with your intranet team to make them fit in with your organisation's intranet style. You'll see that they're quite informal; we find this is a good way to engage with your workforce. However, you may wish to change this to fit in with your corporate style. Also, if you plan to use paper surveys and/or parts of your workforce don't have access to your intranet you can edit the information to include information about how your paper survey will be delivered. You can also use the content of the messages and put them on your noticeboards:

  • Intranet page 1 - Survey open For use when you first launch the survey. It contains basic information about the survey together with a link to the FAQs. You'll need to edit it as appropriate to include your organisation's name, dates and links.
  • Intranet page 2 - Reminder To remind your workforce about the survey. It should encourage them to complete the survey if they haven't already done so. It should replace page 1 when you issue the reminder message (see 'Workforce briefing messages' above).
  • Intranet page 3 - Survey closed To thank your workforce for completing the survey. It should replace page 2 when you issue the reminder message (see 'Workforce briefing messages' above).

SIT_Intranet_pages (DOCX 19KB) (opens in new window)


We've included generic and customisable versions of a poster that you can print and use around your workplace to promote the survey.

Generic poster

You can use the generic versions without any changes. They are in pdf format so you can print them in either A4 or A3 size depending on your requirements.

SIT_Poster (PDF 2.18MB) (opens in new window)

Custom poster

You can customise your posters by including your organisation's name. You'll need Microsoft Word to edit the posters:

  1. Open the poster using Microsoft Word.
  2. Towards the bottom of the poster there is a message: 'Help to improve [company name] workplace wellbeing by completing the Stress Indicator Tool Survey.' You can change this according to your requirements. Note that the text is highlighted to indicate that the text can be changed; the highlighting won't be printed.
  3. Save the document.
  4. Print as required.
  5. Close the document.

SIT Poster (DOCX 476KB) (opens in new window)


We've included a generic and customisable version of a flyer. You can print and leave them in strategic locations around your workplace (noticeboards, canteen, tea room, communal mail etc).

Generic flyer

You can use the generic versions without any changes. They are in pdf format so you can print them in either A4 or A3 size depending on your requirements.

SIT flyer (PDF 181KB) (opens in new window)

Custom flyer

As with the posters, you can tailor your flyers to include your organisation's name. You can also include a management statement on the back if you want. You can customise the flyers as follows:

  1. Open the flyer using Microsoft Word.
  2. Towards the bottom of the poster there is a message: 'Help to improve [company name] workplace wellbeing by completing the Stress Indicator Tool Survey.' You can change this according to your requirements. Note that the text is highlighted to indicate that the text can be changed; the highlighting won't be printed.
  3. Save the document.
  4. Print as required.
  5. Close the document.

SIT flyer (DOCX 501KB)

Return-to-work discussion template

We provide a template here that you can copy (opens in new window) and use as a questionnaire for employees returning to work after work-related stress.

Line managers' competency indicator tool

Line managers play a vital role in the identification and management of stress within the organisation. They're likely to see the problems causing the stress first-hand, will be in the best position to notice changes in staff behaviour that may indicate a stress-related problem and will often be the first point of contact when an individual feels stressed.

But managers also need to think about their behaviour, and how it can either add to the stress their staff experience or help alleviate the problem. Management behaviour is often highlighted as a major factor by those suffering from work-related stress.

Training is usually given to those going into management but often they are then left to 'get on with it' - with no checks on how the manager is coping. It is difficult for managers to get feedback that allows them to assess how their staff are affected by their behaviour - a manager may be doing something that affects their staff but they are unaware of it.

The HSE, in association with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Investors in People, have designed a series of tools to allow managers to assess whether they currently have the behaviours identified as effective for preventing and reducing stress at work; its aim is to help managers reflect on their behaviour and management style.

These tools include a self-assessment tool, one that requires input from the manager's staff (180°) and one that allows input from staff, senior managers and peers (360°).

Line managers' resource

This is useful reading material for line managers (opens in new window) and those at the coalface of managing mental health problems at work. It provides common sense and practical advice on how to handle situations at work.

Printed publications, posters and healthy deal playing cards

We offer a range of printed guidance and publications that can be purchased from our online shop (opens in new window).

Keep up to date

Sign up to receive stress news and updates direct from HSE (opens in new window)

Join the discussion

The HSE stress solutions discussion group is for you to discuss approaches to tackling stress in the workplace, and to provide feedback to the HSE. Here you can share your ideas and experiences and identify or request help on solutions to the problems of stress. Join the HSE stress solutions discussion group (opens in new window).

Frequently asked questions for administrators and users

The frequently asked questions (FAQs) are questions and answers that respondents and administrators most often ask about the Safety Climate Tool.

The administrator FAQs opens in new window are for those actively running the survey and provides additional information about the system and the service provision and support.

The user FAQs (opens in new window) are for participants of the survey and provides additional clarity as to how and why the survey is being run.

For the user FAQs, you may want to add, change or delete your own information. For example, the FAQs refer to both paper-based and online responses, but your organisation may only be running one method of survey. You'll need to tailor the FAQs where appropriate (dates, organisation's name etc). The FAQS are categorised into Getting started, Completing the survey and After the survey.

If you're going to include the FAQs on your intranet you'll need to agree the best way of presenting them with your intranet team. For example, HSE lists the questions with hyperlinks and displays the answer underneath when clicked. Clicking on the FAQ displays the answer underneath.

Feedback on the Stress Indicator Tool

We value your opinion and we would appreciate your feedback and ideas for the ongoing development and improvements of the online Stress Indicator Tool.

Online: feedback survey (opens in new window)

Email: survey (opens in new window)

Tel: +44 (0)333 202 5070