05/10/2013

Pan-European opinion poll reveals common causes of work-related stress

Half of workers across Europe think work-related stress is common, and four in
ten think it is not handled well at their workplace. Job insecurity or job
reorganisation is thought to be the most common cause of work-related stress
across Europe. There is low awareness of programmes or policies to make it
easier for workers to continue working up to or beyond the retirement age,
though the majority support their introduction.

These are the main findings of the 3rd edition of the pan-European opinion poll
conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the European Agency for Safety and Health
at Work (EU-OSHA).



Around half of workers across Europe (51%) perceive that work-related stress is
common in their workplace, with 16% saying it is 'very common' according to the
poll. Female workers are more likely than male workers to say that work-related
stress is common (54% vs. 49%), as are workers aged 18-54 (53%) compared with
workers aged 55+ (44%). Perceptions of work-related stress also vary by sector
with those in health or care work being the most likely to say cases of
work-related stress are common (61% including 21% who say cases are 'very
common').

EU-OSHA Director Christa Sedlatschek points out that '41% of workers across
Europe say that work-related stress is not handled well in their workplace,
with 15% telling us it is handled "not at all well". We are very much focused
on tackling psychosocial risks, such as stress, in the workplace. Next year we
will launch our Healthy Workplaces Campaign on "Managing Stress". The message
to be conveyed across European companies of different sizes and sectors is that
psychosocial risks can be dealt with in the same logical and systematic way as
other health and safety issues.'

There is a link between the proportion of workers who say work-related stress
is common where they work and those workers who say that work-related stress is
not controlled well. Seven in ten (72%) workers across Europe who say
work-related stress is rare in their workplace also say it is controlled well,
while conversely six in ten (58%) workers who say work-related stress is common
where they work also believe that it is not controlled well.

The most common cause of work-related stress across Europe is perceived to be
job insecurity or job reorganisation (72%) followed by hours worked or workload
(66%). However, among younger workers aged 18-34, these two causes are ranked
joint highest (both at 69%). Furthermore, health or care workers are much more
likely than average to select hours worked/workload (77%).

In countries with a higher level of public debt workers are more likely to cite
job insecurity or job reorganisation as a perceived cause of work-related
stress; 73% of workers in countries with public debt of more than 90% of GDP
choose job insecurity or job reorganisation as a common cause work-related
stress compared to 66% of those in countries with public debt of 60% of GDP or
less.

Unacceptable behaviours such as bullying or harassment are perceived as a
common cause of work-related stress by six in ten workers (59%). Fewer workers
perceive a lack of support from colleagues or superiors (57%), a lack of
clarity on roles and responsibilities (52%) or limited opportunity to manage
work patterns (46%) as common causes of work-related stress.

More information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work