Dealing with psychosocial risks: success factors and obstacles

Most European companies still don't have procedures for managing workplace
stress and other psychosocial risks, despite the increasing threat that they
pose to Europe's workers. This situation is explored in two new reports from
the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), which look at the
reasons why, with 79% of managers in the EU being concerned about stress at
work, and 40% concerned with workplace harassment and violence, 74% of European
businesses still do not have procedures in place to deal with these issues.

The reports come at a time when increasing numbers of European workers are
reporting problems with stress, and with a recent opinion poll showing that 80%
of EU workers expect stress levels to increase in the next five years. The
health problems associated with stress and other psychosocial risks are well
known, and yet it seems that many European businesses are finding it difficult
to prevent them.

Findings of the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks
(ESENER) show that only 3% of enterprises are tackling psychosocial risks in a
fully holistic and systematic way, and 12% did not implement any of the key
measures for managing psychosocial risks covered by the survey.

The reports looked at the factors that make businesses more likely to succeed
in addressing these issues, including concerns being raised directly by
employees, and an awareness of the business case for taking this issue
seriously: currently some 50-60% of all lost working days are thought to be
related to psychosocial risks, while mental health disorders are estimated to
cost 240 billion Euros a year in the EU. Businesses that are aware of the close
connection between psychosocial risks and high rates of absenteeism are much
more likely to make serious efforts to manage those risks.

At the same time, the reports identify the barriers that many businesses
encounter in trying to deal with psychosocial risks, including a lack of
technical support and guidance, and a lack of resources.

More information - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work