The Forth Road Bridge is a British institution. The fourth longest bridge of its kind in the world when it opened in 1964, it remains an international icon of engineering and construction, thanks to a striking design that incorporates 39,000 tonnes of steel and 125,000 cubic metres of concrete in an overall length of 2.5km.

Every year, around 24 million vehicles cross the bridge. Almost 100 people are employed by the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) and are kept busy with maintenance, traffic control and administration.

With those people crucial to the safe, smooth and reliable running of an operation that can see 70,000 vehicles a day use the bridge, FETA was keen to explore ways to manage stress within the organisation while also developing a separate business improvement plan.

FETA, which already uses the Sypol CMS COSHH Management System for hazardous substances management, worked with Alcumus again on its work-related stress management programme that sets out “six steps to success” to achieve compliance and best practice.

The programme led the organisation through a simple process of identifying the areas that would gain the most benefit from reduced pressure on the workforce. Involving employees to reinforce the message that their opinions are valued was a key part of the approach.

Completion of the “six steps” has enabled FETA to put in place an effective action plan to manage the causes of stress along with an organisational stress risk assessment, which is a legal requirement.

Continued business improvement

And the programme has had the added benefit of assisting FETA to prioritise business improvements, taking into account the views of employees on what would benefit the organisation as a whole, so that they feel they are partners in the process and that their opinions are valued.

Barry Colford, Chief Engineer and Bridge Master of the Forth Road Bridge, said: ”When we began to look at stress management as an organisation, I was unsure of the benefit this would bring. However, after completing the stress management programme ‘steps to success’, the business and organisational benefits have been apparent and the programme has aided us in prioritising our own business improvement plan.”

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