Managing Stress and Psychosocial Risk Within Oil and Gas
In this case study analysis of the oil and gas sector, the authors assess the important leadership and support role that occupational health can play in managing stress and psychosocial risk, especially because this is an industry where the focus is more commonly on physical risk and health and safety.
Although many hazardous activities, including drilling and refinery processes, are undertaken within the oil and gas industry, they are generally very well managed, resulting in this being a very safe industry.
Stressful work patterns may be less well managed, their adverse effects not being immediately obvious. This case study article considers a multinational organization within this sector.
It employs 60,000 people spread over 180 countries but focuses on a group of 300 employees and contractors, with a 60–40% split of men to women based in the UK where there are a variety of office-based work roles within corporate groups such as human resources (HR) and pricing analysts.
This successful organization employs highly motivated employees who work to a high standard and to the best of their ability. There is a sense of loyalty, many staff remaining for 15 years and more with many seeing out their whole career in this organization. Work elements with the potential to affect mental wellbeing negatively will be explored with suggested strategies to address those issues.
In 2004, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) devised a set of standards covering six key areas of work design that, if ineffectively managed, are associated with poor health, lower productivity, and increased accidents and absences. Key areas they refer to are
- Demands—The demands of workload, work patterns, and the work environment
- Control—How control workers have over how they undertake their work
- Change—How organizational change is managed and communicated
- Support—Including resource provision and the support from line management and colleagues
- Relationships—Including promoting positive working, avoiding conflict, and managing unacceptable behavior
- Role—Whether employees clearly understand their role within the organization, that the organization ensures that they do not have conflicting roles