Psychosocial risks have been recognised as the fastest growing workplace risk within Europe. This was particularly highlighted in 2008 in France following an unfortunate wave of high profile work-related suicides. Health at work quickly became a hot topic in the country with everyone from top management to occupational physicians realising that action needed to be taken.

In response to the rapidly unfolding issue surrounding psychosocial risks in France, 40% of large companies (those with 1,000 or more employees) moved to take action and started by measuring stress factors in their workplaces and providing awareness training for managers.

At the same time the French government also acted and carried out a national consultation with experts that led to an identification of the main risks to mental, physical and social health caused by employment conditions. These six indicators were identified as:

  • job demands;
  • emotional demands;
  • autonomy;
  • social and work relations;
  • ethical conflicts; and
  • job insecurity.

This information eventually led to a quality of working life agreement in June of 2013, which included obligations for risk assessment, prevention, and employee engagement.

The agreement contains a series of measures to ‘improve the quality of life at work, the reconciliation of time and professional equality’. It asks social partners to look at the way in which technology allows work to intrude on employees’ private lives through the use of devices such as laptops and smart phones. This appears to be an area of growing concern, particularly in relation to how social media and use of smart phones, laptops and emails are having an impact on the welfare of staff and their ability to break from work. Undoubtedly organisations should be looking at what procedures they have in place to deal with this.

As part of the Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress campaign, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has launched its e-guide on managing stress and psychosocial risks. Stress is an important occupational safety and health (OSH) concern in about 80% of European businesses and is one of the main reasons for lost working days in Europe. However, less than a third of European establishments have procedures in place to deal with work-related stress.

If you feel that stress is a risk that is becoming a concern, talk to one of the Cardinus health and safety consultants. We can help with policy development and implementation, deliver training courses or help you deliver effective stress risk assessments.

Cardinus can help you to develop a stress management system as part of your overall safety management system. The systems will provide the evidence required to demonstrate that your organisation has acted responsibly and considered the mental health and well-being of your employees.

Cardinus also provides a range of stress management solutions to suit your organisation, from an online stress indicator survey tool to online training to help managers recognise and manage stress in their employees.

Simply call 020 7469 0200 or email [email protected].

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