EU-OSHA publishes an initial analysis of the results of the second European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER). It was conducted in the autumn of 2014 among “those who know best about the subject” in around 50,000 enterprises with five employees or more in 36 European countries, with a particular focus on how occupational safety and health is managed, and on psychosocial risk (PSR).
With regard to PSR in EU countries, according to 58% of establishments, the main identified factor is having to deal with difficult customers, pupils or patients, followed by time pressure. One establishment in five says that it lacks information or adequate tools to combat these risks. This is especially true in Malta and Slovakia. On average, 16% of the establishments say they call on a psychologist to manage PSR, but in Finland and Sweden the percentage is close to 60%. Finally, in the three years prior to the survey, 63% of the establishments indicate that the employees contributed to the design and implementation of PSR prevention measures.
The survey reveals that on average 76% of establishments in the EU-28 regularly perform risk assessment; this rate is as high as 94% in Italy and Slovenia, but falls to 37% in Luxembourg. Those who do not assess risks regularly claim mainly that these risks are already well known (83%) and that there is no major problem (80%). Interestingly, the smallest enterprises say less often than the largest ones that the assessment procedure is too complex.
The main reasons for managing OSH are compliance with legal obligations (85% of establishments in the EU-28), followed by the desire to meet the expectations of the employees or their representatives and, lastly, fear of being fined by labour inspectors.
Apart from PSR, the risk factors present in establishments are tiring or painful positions (56%) and repetitive hand or arm movements (52%). These are followed by the risk of accidents with machines or hand tools, lifting or moving people or heavy loads, and the risk of accidents with vehicles in the course of work.
The survey also covers the age of the labour force, telecommuting and language problems in the workplace. Other results and analyses are due to be published in 2015.