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European companies 'not managing stress'15th of October 2012
Most European companies still don’t have procedures for managing workplace stress and other psychosocial risks, despite the increasing threat they pose to Europe’s workers.
That's according to two new reports from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), which look at the reasons why, with 79 per cent of managers in the EU being concerned about stress at work, and 40 per cent concerned with workplace harassment and violence, 74 per cent 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 per cent 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 three per cent 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 per cent 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.
EU-OSHA will be making available practical tools for dealing with psychosocial risks in its Healthy Workplaces Campaign for 2014-15.