Stress and psychosocial risks in the new 2014-15 EU-OSHA´s Healthy Workplaces Campaign

This post is also available in: Spanish

Yesterday morning was launched in Brussels the last European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EUOSHA) 2014-15 campaign, dedicated to the stress management and psychosocial risks at work.

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The campaign launch brought together EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor; Greek Deputy Minister for Labour, Social Security and Welfare, Vasilis Kegkeroglou, representing the Greek EU Council Presidency, and Director of EU-OSHA, Dr Christa Sedlatschek

Stress and psychosocial risks

First of all, let´s clarify concepts.

  • Occupational stress occurs when the demands of the job exceed a worker´s ability to cope with them.
  • Occupational stress comes from lots of causes inside and outside of work. Those are the psychosocial risks.

Stress and psychosocial risks are one of the most ignored aspects in the field of the occupational safety and health in the latest times. When it comes to data is when one realises how unfair was such ostracism. Just a pair of self explaining data:

  • Stress is the second most frequently reported work-related health problem in Europe;
  • along with other psychosocial risks, stress is thought to account for more than half (50-60%) of all lost working days.

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The data reveal even more the traditional abandonment of “the third” discipline within occupational safety and health: ergonomics and psychosociology. This is a charge to be annotate in the debits of everyone: public administrations, enterprises and the own workers, with a special mention to the OSH professionals.

The causes of this situation are multiple: from that stigma around mental health, to the sensibility and misunderstanding around psychosocial risks, as well as a lack of technical skills and organizational solvency of enterprises´managers and staff to deal with this issue.

In addition must be taken into account the social and economical situation in the world in general and specially in Europe, which affects in a decisive way in the raising of psychosocial risks in and outside of work. I refer to factors like the appearance of new technologies and organizational methods modifying the work, unemployment and the deteriorated labor conditions, cutbacks in key public services or the own way of life and social customs.

Therefore, when we talk about psychosocial risks, the line between “work” and “non-work” softens, which is as aspect to take into account.

A huge challenge, this campaign come just-in-time.

Among the amount of actions the campaign will develop, there are two main aims: to raise awareness of the problem and provide support to manage psychosocial risks; and to show how psychosocial risks can be handled in the same systematic way (identification-assessment-take action) as any other occupational safety and health risk, by means of simple tools which can help organisations to effectively manage these risks.

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The “Healthy workplaces manage stress” campaign will last until november 2015, takes over of the preceding 2012-13 EU-OSHA´s campaign on manager´s leadership and worker´s participation, which was the world´s largest OSH campaign; and, as in that case, I am delighted to get involved as a EU-OSHA Agency´s “media partner” also in this campaign, the best collaboration that a blog like this can meet in the Internet.

You al are kindly invited to follow up the campaign development in Aragon Valley. Launching!.  

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