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How the survey is scored

How are Work Stressors scored?

An average figure is calculated for each question and Work Stressor category. The scores range from 0 to 4. A lower score indicates poor performance or a potential problem area.  Scores are normalized into a scale of 0 to 100.

Work Stressors are scored using a benchmark scoring system. Your HSE's scores are compared (benchmarked) with other organisations that have completed the survey.  The benchmark comparison group consists of a sample of over 13,000 Irish employees and 82 organisations that have taken the survey to date. The scores are then colour-coded depending on how well the HSE's results compare with other organisations.

The scoring benchmarks developed for each question and Work Stressor category are presented as colour coded percentiles:


  • RED – Your department/service scored in the bottom 20% - Urgent action is required
  • AMBER – Your department/service scored below average (between 20% and 50%)  - Improvement needed
  • BLUE – Your department/service scored above average (between 50% and 80%) – good, but there is the potential for improvement
  • GREEN – Your department/service scored in the top 20%  - an excellent result – try to maintain performance


Benchmarked scores are particularly useful as they allow the HSE to take account of societal norms and identify opportunities for improvement.  For example, you may feel your department/service has scored well in a particular work category (e.g. Role), however if your peers (i.e. other organisations) are all performing better there is clearly an opportunity to consider improvement.

For more information on scoring work stressors please go to


Interpreting Workplace stressors results

The Work Stressors questions do not indicate there is a problem; rather, they indicate the presence of conditions that may lead to a problem. This is an important distinction to make. Even when the data appear to suggest clear hot spots, it is important to check this out with your employees.  You will need to share and discuss the outcomes of the survey and other data collected with employees, and explore any issues raised in more detail.


How is Psychological (personal) Wellbeing scored?

Screening for psychological distress is an effective approach in workers who are at risk of distress due to their level of exposure to trauma. This additional section has been included in the HSE Work PositiveCI to assess employee wellbeing levels and it considers both negative and positive aspects of employee wellbeing.

An index was created through a combination of two validated tools - the PHQ4, a screening tool for psychological distress and the WHO-5 Well-being Index, which measures an individual’s wellbeing over the last two weeks. The scales were combined through the categorisation of the threshold score values  to create a ‘traffic light’ summary score (‘Green’, ‘Amber’ and ‘Red’).

For more information on scoring psychological wellbeing please go to


HSE Work PositiveCI addresses the causes and consequences of poor psychosocial working conditions, but does so within a positive framework aiming to enhance and cultivate positive workplace factors that can improve the health and wellbeing of the full working population. By adopting a positive framework the message communicated to the workforce is not so much an organisational intention to ‘move away from ill health’ but rather an intention tomove towards good health’, a subtle but significant difference.


Exposure to Critical Incidents

While there are many stressors that are common to most workplaces, there are some that are specific to each job type. The HSE Work PositiveCI survey contains CISM sectorial specific audit questions for individual participants to indicate the frequency and scale of experiences of critical incidents encountered within their job and the types of support measures that may be most helpful. Go to for more information on Critical incidents.


Work Safe:

This section looks at the knowledge of your employees to health & Safety. It is a vital component of any survey to look at the safety behaviours of our staff. Again this will be a traffic light warning system similar to the previous section alerting you to possible areas of risk. These results are combined to create a ‘traffic light’ summary score to represent;

  • ‘positive safety culture and behaviours’ (Green), 
  • ‘average safety culture and behaviours’ (Amber), and
  • ‘negative safety culture and behaviours’ (Red) where improvement is required.


Stay Well / Healthy:

As we spend so much of our time in work it is essential that our working environment and organisational culture supports our physical and mental wellbeing.

The benefits of using the HSE Work PositiveCI survey is that this survey provides a comprehensive review of all the elements of occupational safety and health. Once completed you will be furnished with the necessary actions plans to address potential risks within your area of work and therefore provide healthier working environment for your staff.