ETUI report makes the case for European action

An eastern European perspective is detailed in a newly published report.

April 4, 2022News

The European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) have outlined the necessity of a directive on work-related psychosocial risks in a newly published report, A case for an EU directive addressing work-related psychological risks: An eastern European perspective. Within the report’s findings, the need for the adoption of a new binding instrument at the EU level, developed with the involvement of the social partners, is seen as essential to set minimum standards on psychological risks.

With extensive experience in researching psychosocial risks and occupational health and safety, the ETUI’s call for European action is a significant development for the EndStress campaign. While the danger of work-related psychosocial risks is well known, the extent of the problem is only just becoming clear. The ETUI note that nearly 80% of establishments in the EU identify at least one psychosocial risk factor as being present in their workplace, while less than 40% of workplaces have action plans to prevent psychosocial risks at work across the EU. While some Member States have addressed this issue better than others, the reality is that millions of workers remain exposed to work-related psychosocial risks on a daily basis.

Action can be taken to alleviate this burden on workers, with the lack of EU-wide standards a point of concern. The situation in central and eastern European states is a prime example. Despite increasing work-related psychological risks and awareness of the issue, it is neither regulated by national legislation, nor adequately addressed at the enterprise level, with a lack of management of risk factors.

While the report highlights how a minority of Member States (notably Sweden, Denmark and Finland) have seen some success in addressing work-related psychosocial risks, for the majority of workers throughout Europe, the implementation of ‘soft’ policies has not proven to be effective. With existing legislation not explicitly include the terms ‘psychological risk’ or ‘work-related stress’, non-binding measures proving ineffective and the problem permeating workplaces in all Member States, the ETUI’s recommendation is clear: It is time for a directive on work-related psychosocial risks.

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