Businesses could get health and safety helpA new government scheme aimed at helping small businesses to improve the health and well-being of their staff has been welcomed by one sector commentator.

The Challenge Fund announced last week by Department for Work and Pension minister Lord McKenzie, will make money available over the next two years to firms with which to launch projects to address issues such as stress and work-life balance.

Commenting on the news, Chris Clarke, a spokesperson for International Stress Management Association UK, said the scheme is a "very good" idea as it allows small and medium-sized businesses to remain compliant with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, without having to allocate immediate funding.

"When available funding is tight, having external resources available will enable many organisations to be able to run stress risk assessments and training resulting in a more healthy and productive staff," he added.

Mr Clarke stated that employers could identify the members of their workforce most at risk of stress by employing their knowledge of individual staff members and looking out for changes in their personal characteristics.

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