Policies and guidelines

If you want to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of people at work in Ireland, there are a number of policies and guidelines and initiatives that you should be aware of:

  • Healthy Workplaces: Healthy Ireland
  • Work Positive
  • Guidelines for managing mental health at work – DG Employment
  • ENWHP guidelines on return to work
  • European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

Healthy Workplaces: Healthy Ireland

The Healthy Ireland initiative of the Department of Health is currently developing a programme for promoting health and wellbeing in workplaces – the Healthy Workplaces initiative.  This will become a national policy covering both mental and physical health and will encourage employers to take actions om a regular basis that promote worker health.  This is a collaborative initiative between a number of departments and agencies.

It is expected that detailed proposals on the initiative will emerge early in 2018.

You can find out more at:

Work Positive

Work Positive is the Health and Safety Authority’s programme to prevent and manage stress at work.  It is comprised of a questionnaire that enables a stress hazard identification to be undertaken and a set of guidelines on how to use this information to prevent occupational stress.

This website also provides information on the UK Management Standards on stress at work and a set guidelines on what some companies have done to manage stress at work.  Case studies of good practice are also available.

You can find out more at:

Guidelines for managing mental health at work – DG Employment

The EU Commission (DG-Employment) have produced a set of guidelines on how to manage mental health issues in the workplace.  These take an integrated approach to dealing with the 3 main issues facing workplaces – how to identify and manage occupational stress, how to promote mental health and wellbeing in the workplace and what should be done when a worker with a mental health problems needs to get back to work. 

Produced by a consortium involving Work Research Centre from Ireland, the Guidelines are available at:

ENWHP guidelines on return to work

When a worker’s health breaks down and they become absent from work for a period, especially a longer period, employers need to take an active and dynamic approach to enabling the safe and timely return to work of the employee. This means having a policy driven yet tailored approach, as each individuals’ situation is different, yet fairness is essential for all.  The European Network for Workplace Health Promotion has produced guidelines for return to work which can be found at:


The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work is the official European health and safety agency. It produces a wide range of information on legislation, emerging issues in health and safety.  It also produces a range of guidelines and models of good practice which help employers to interpret European Legislation. You can find out more at:

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