Psychosocial and musculoskeletal risk factors most widespread in Europe's workplaces - and risk assessment is still considered the best way of tackling them

Last week the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) launched
the main findings of the Second European Survey of Enterprises on New and
Emerging Risks (ESENER-2) at the European Parliament in Brussels. The results
of the survey - which collected responses from almost 50,000 workplaces in 36
countries, including all 28 Member States - give a detailed insight into how
occupational safety and health (OSH) risks are managed in Europe's workplaces.
With results easily accessible through an online dashboard, this survey
represents an important new resource for policymakers, researchers and

The aim of ESENER-2 is to find out how health and safety - and particularly new
and emerging risks, such as psychosocial risks - are actually managed in
practice in organisations of all sizes, including micro enterprises of 5 to 10
employees. Survey questions were addressed to the person in the organisation
who knew most about OSH. Respondents identified the major risk factors in their
organisation and described how they manage them. Importantly, they also
reported on the reasons why they manage risks - and the main difficulties that
deter them from assessing workplace risks at all.

The most commonly reported risk factor is having to deal with difficult
customers, patients, pupils and so on (58% of establishments in the EU-28),
which in part reflects the continued growth of the service sector. Factors
leading to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as tiring or painful
positions and repetitive hand or arm movements, are reported very frequently
across all activity sectors.

The results indicate that 76 % of establishments in the EU-28 carry out regular
risk assessments, and of those 90 % consider them a useful way of managing
safety and health. There are significant differences at national level in the
proportion of enterprises carrying out risk assessments with internal staff
compared with external providers. The use of internal staff ranges from 76 % in
Denmark to 7% in Slovenia. While the size of the establishment has a strong
influence, in some countries even most of the smallest establishments generally
carry out risk assessments with internal staff.

Another key finding refers to how a high level of employee participation
(whether formal or informal) is a strong indicator of good quality of work,
including the quality of OSH management in general and psychosocial risk
management in particular.

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