Focus

Focus Archive

Stress Out? You are not alone......

September 2002

Nearly one in three of Europe's workers, more than 40 million people, report that they are affected by stress at work. It is responsible for millions of lost working days every year. The figures speak for themselves, but far too many victims suffer in silence and too many companies do not realise the extent to which stress can affect their business performance.

So why does Europe need to tackle the problem of psychosocial risks at work?

Across Europe, millions of workers face psychosocial risks at work on a daily basis. These risks can cause stress and include poor work organisation and design, violence, threats of violence, verbal abuse from members of the public and bullying by work colleagues. Work organisation and design issues cover working at high speed, uncertainty about your job role, lack of control over your work, too many demands and poor management of change.

For example:

That's why this year's European Week for Safety and Health at Work is focusing on the prevention of psychosocial risks and the stress they cause.

The European Week 2002 is an information campaign aimed at making Europe a safe and healthy place to work by promoting activities to reduce stress and work-related psychosocial risks. With the backing of all Member States, the European Commission and Parliament, trade unions and employers’ federations, it provides a unique opportunity to focus attention on the importance of workplace safety and health.

Good health is good business

The key to preventing work-related stress and psychosocial risks lies with the organisation and management of work. The EU has adopted a ‘framework’ directive to protect workers and improve safety and health at work. It covers all workplace hazards including psychosocial risks.

Requirements to carry out risk assessments and bring in preventive measures apply to psychosocial risks, such as stress and workplace violence, just as they do to other workplace risks like machine safety. The Commission has issued guidance on stress and violence at work. Member States have produced their own practical guidelines and preventive tools on stress, violence and other psychosocial risks.

Reducing work-related stress and psychosocial risks is not just a moral and legal imperative. There’s a strong business case as well. The most successful businesses usually have the best safety and health performance. Good health is good business

Who is organising the European Week?

It is being co-ordinated by the Bilbao-based European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and will run in all 15 EU Member States and beyond. The Agency is the European Union organisation responsible for occupational safety and health information.

When is the week?

The Week itself will take place in October 2002, but the campaign will run throughout 2002. Each Member State is deciding on the precise week within October. The weeks in each Member States are as follows:

Austria 14-20 October 2002
Belgium 14-18 October 2002
Denmark 21-27 October 2002
Finland 21-27 October 2002
France 21-25 October 2002
Germany 7-11 October 2002
Greece 21-25 October 2002
Ireland 14-18 October 2002
Italy 21-25 October 2002
Luxembourg 21-27 October 2002
Netherlands 14-19 October 2002
Portugal 21-25 October 2002
Spain 21-27 October 2002
Sweden 21-25 October 2002
UK 14-18 October 2002

Who can take part in European week?

The Week is aimed at organisations, companies and workplaces of all sizes and sectors. Everybody involved in occupational safety and health matters is invited to take part, especially safety and health institutions and occupational insurance organisations, trade unions and employers’ organisations, companies, managers, employees and safety representatives.

So have you made your plans? Have a successful week wherever you are!


European Week web site: http://ew2002.osha.europa.eu