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The report co-produced by EU-OSHA and Eurofound reviews working conditions in Europe and the prevalence of psychosocial risks (PSR) in the workplace. It also outlines the policies conducted by Member States to combat this type of risk.
A quarter of workers in Europe report feeling stressed at work all or most of the time. Increased job insecurity and work pressure in the enterprise have merely increased this phenomenon. Nearly 80% of managers express a concern about work-related stress, and nearly one in five consider violence and harassment to be of major concern. Employers often feel helpless and consider that it is difficult to combat PSR due to a lack of resources or expertise. This is a crucial issue, because attenuating PSR and protecting workers against such risks is essential in order to prevent their early exit from the job market.
The policies adopted to combat PSR vary greatly from one country to another. These disparities can partly be explained by different levels of development of the culture of social dialogue. For example, the transposition of the European framework agreement on work-related stress signed in 2004 required major legislative amendments in some countries, while in other countries the social partners merely translated the agreement into their national language and signed it.
At the regulatory level, there is no single way of approaching PSR. Some Member States have decided not to mention PSR specifically in their regulatory documents and to stay close to the 89/391/EEC framework directive. This is the case for Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Spain. Others (Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Slovakia and Sweden) have emphasized, in their legislation, the need to take into account PSR and mental health when dealing with occupational safety and health issues. Some have even specifically included the obligation of performing an assessment of PSR. This is the case for Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Finally, a very small number of Member States (Austria and Belgium) have introduced in their legislation the possibility or the obligation of involving an expert for certain aspects of PSR.
The report, entitled “Psychosocial risks in Europe: Prevalence and strategies for prevention”, is available only in English. It was published as part of the European Week on Managing Work-Related Stress, which was held in October 2014.