globalDespite widespread concern about job stress and workplace violence, most European companies still don’t have procedures in place for managing psychosocial risks, according to two new reports from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA).

The news comes at a time when increasing numbers of European workers are reporting problems with stress, and with a recent opinion poll showing that 80% of EU workers expect stress levels to increase in the next five years.

The reports found that although 79% of managers in the EU are concerned about stress at work and 40% are concerned with workplace harassment and violence, 74% of European businesses have no mechanisms or programs for addressing the issue.

Findings of the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER) show that only 3% 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 researchers examined 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% 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.

Click below to download the reports:

Management of psychosocial risks at work

Drivers and barriers for psychosocial risk management