Browse by subject - Stress and the workplace
13 May 2013: Working conditions and occupational risks: SUMER 2010 (France / Survey data report [ or view as size 445 kb])
The latest Medical Monitoring Survey of Professional Risks (SUMER 2010) draws on employee questionnaires and employee interviews with company medical officers to look at working conditions in France. Data are presented on work organisation (including working time), behavioural indicators and exposure to potentially harmful working conditions in the public and private sectors. Exposure to occupational risks differed considerably between sectors and subsectors.
25 April 2013: Employee awareness of workplace risk factors (Latvia / Information update)
New research in Latvia shows workers are failing to accurately assess the state of their own health. Examining the effect of the corporate environment on health, a survey found that 88% of workers said they felt well even though the majority had medical complaints. While managers work longer hours and report higher levels of stress, non-managers are more likely to have sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets, and so have a higher risk of heart and circulatory disease.
25 April 2013: Increase in stress and physical demands in the health sector (Finland / Information update)
An annual survey of public sector workers in Finland has shown small but significant changes in well-being in the workplace over recent years. In particular, work-life balance has improved. Nevertheless, workers say staff shortages and other workplace problems that cause psychological and physical stress are still threats to well-being. The survey also shows that management are largely sympathetic towards workers wanting to extend their careers beyond retirement age.
12 April 2013: Pressure at work increases the risk of depression (Sweden / Information update)
A comprehensive Swedish overview of 42 studies examines the link between working conditions and depression. The overview concludes that pressure at work increases the risk of depression. Five of the studies show clear causality between high psychological pressure and depression. The overview also found that other factors such as job strain and the combination of low control and high performance demands have a small effect on the risk of developing depression.
08 April 2013: Job satisfaction low among doctors (Bulgaria / Information update)
Job satisfaction among doctors in Bulgaria was the subject of a survey conducted by healthcare information network Healthgrouper. The research showed doctors were generally unhappy with their wages, work-life balance and health service reforms. High levels of stress at work also had a negative impact on doctors’ job satisfaction. High levels of job satisfaction were identified with the overall work environment, including relationships with colleagues and autonomy at work.
15 February 2013: Work-related mental stress focus of research and policy debate (Germany / Information update)
Flexible working may be contributing to levels of stress according to a study among German employees. The research was carried out at a time when there was continuing policy debate on amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to address work-related stress. An annual Absenteeism Report by health insurer AOK has provided new evidence which suggests the ‘flexibilisation’ of working times and locations is associated with higher levels of mental strain.
15 February 2013: Study highlights the dangers of work-related stress (Austria / Information update)
Psychosocial job pressures are taking on increasing significance in Austria and across the rest of Europe due to recent developments in working life. The impact of the health outcomes of, for instance, high levels of stress and time pressure has become a key aspect of the development of working conditions. A recent study highlights these problems, and draws attention to the possible economic impact of ignoring stress-related issues at work.
09 January 2013: Well-being at work in the healthcare sector (Italy / Information update)
As part of a project to devise a set of rules for assessing the risks of work-related stress in Italy, a survey of healthcare employees was commissioned with the support of the healthcare employers’ association, FIASO. The survey identifies the main drivers of well-being at work. Most important, according to the research, is ‘achievement of professional identity’, while ‘identification with the organisation and the community’ plays a positive though marginal role.
17 December 2012: Low levels of company allegiance among employees (Czech Republic / Information update)
A survey by the GfK agency in 2011 reveals that Czech workers were among the least ‘engaged’ across the 29 countries analysed. ‘Engagement’ was defined as the extent to which an employee identified with the success of the company, had loyalty to the company and a willingness to remain with the employer. The proportion of Czech employees demonstrating such allegiance was very low, particularly among younger workers – those aged between 18 and 29 years. The survey pointed to a high level of disillusionment among younger Czech workers.
17 December 2012: Women workers and managers more prone to headaches (Norway / Information update)
In a study by Norway’s National Institute of Occupational Health, a range of occupational psychological, social, and mechanical factors were identified as predictors of headache severity. The study showed that seven out of 16 psychological, social and mechanical factors had a particular impact. Role conflict in an employee’s work life, lack of control over work, and job dissatisfaction were most commonly associated with the occurrence of a severe headache.
16 November 2012: Playing the game to tackle work-related stress (Netherlands / Information update)
The need for evidence-based solutions to the problem of work-related stress among employees in the Netherlands is increasing. Research institute TNO suggested that managers might learn about the issue by playing a specially designed game based around work-related stress. This led to the development of The Engagement game which, it is hoped, people in leadership roles will use to explore how to stimulate workers’ enthusiasm, and better manage work-related stress.
24 October 2012: Emotional exhaustion may trigger cut in working hours (Netherlands / Information update)
Researchers in the Netherlands have been examining to what extent workers are modifying their hours to cope with high levels of work-related emotional exhaustion. Findings reveal that most full-time employees would prefer a cut in their hours, with those reporting emotional exhaustion wanting a larger reduction in their working week. By contrast, most employees with part-time contracts would like to increase their hours, with the preferred increase being larger in those with low levels of emotional exhaustion.
12 October 2012: New research on work-related cardiovascular diseases (Sweden / Information update)
A new report from the Swedish Work Environment Authority suggests the main risk factors for work-related cardiovascular disease are engine exhaust emissions, tobacco smoke, stress and shift work. The report examined the link to occupational exposure and to what extent the work environment is an underlying factor in cardiovascular disease and stroke, and how risks are increased by unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, a poor diet and physical inactivity.
28 September 2012: Impact of cost-cutting strategies on working conditions in hospitals (Austria / Information update)
For years, health systems all over Europe – and hospitals in particular – have been facing new challenges in adapting their strategies to cost-reduction requirements. A new Austrian study from Vienna’s Working Life Research Centre, FORBA, shows cost efficiency and economic considerations have become dominant aspects within these new strategies. The study suggests that this has had a significant negative impact on hospital employees’ working conditions.
19 September 2012: Survey finds men more exposed to physical risks at work than women (Denmark / Information update)
In April 2012, the Danish National Institute of Public Health published its report Health and Morbidity in Denmark 2010 – & developments since 1987. The survey looked at aspects of the working environment – both psychosocial and physical. Respondents were asked how they felt about the demands of their workload, the influence they had over their jobs, about working conditions, about lifting and carrying, and about how much support they were given by their managers.
03 August 2012: Working conditions in the retail sector (TRANS NATIONAL / Comparative analytical report [ or view as size 879 kb])
This report examines trends in working conditions and employment status in the retail sector in the EU27 countries and Norway between 2001 and 2010. The considerable expansion of the sector over the past 20 years or so is associated with a transformation in its competitive structure, greater use of technology and changes in the regulatory framework. Large companies now dominate at the expense of the numerous small and micro businesses that once characterised the sector in most countries. One result is a significant decline in the number of self-employed workers and a substantial increase in the number of part-time jobs (many held by women) and non-permanent contracts. These changes have affected career patterns and introduced new risks to employees’ health, especially psychosocial ones. Recent initiatives by the social partners have aimed above all to regulate flexibility and working time arrangements, promote training, reduce the risk of robbery and enhance employee well-being.
31 July 2012: Latvia: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector (Latvia / National Contribution)
The commerce sector, in which 50.5% of value added and 60.9% of employment is retail trade, has become the second largest sector in terms of value added and the largest sector in terms of employment. The main employers are large commercial chains. In 2010, 70% of employers worked full time and 86% were temporary workers. 82% of employees were women. 61.4% were younger than 45 years old. These figures are typical for the retail trade. Career perspectives and employment security are better in large enterprises. The health and well-being of workers and security of work environment is ensured by the national working protection system.
30 July 2012: UK: EWCO CAR on Working conditions in the retail sector (United Kingdom / National Contribution)
The retail sector in the UK is the largest in the UK, employing 2.8 million workers and 9% of all VAT registered businesses. The workforce is predominantly young (one third of the workforce is under 24) and relies on part-time and flexible work. There are widely acknowledged skills gaps in the sector and barriers to female and part-time staff in reaching management positions. Retail crime has declined over the last 10 years although verbal abuse remains a threat to workers in the sector. Government initiatives in the sector are targeted at improving skills through the sectoral skills council and streamlining regulation for retailers. Unions are active in running campaigns to improve the working conditions in the sector although their scope is usually limited to larger employers.
24 July 2012: New website helps workers to avoid IT-related stress (Sweden / Information update)
Rapid access to information and ease of communication are the short-term benefits of information technology (IT). However, research by the Swedish work environment organisation, Prevent, in collaboration with an expert in social medicine, has demonstrated the risk of overload and the prevalence of IT-related stress among Swedish workers. Prevent recently launched a website in Swedish and English detailing how to avoid IT-related stress and how to detect it.
27 February 2012: Prevalence of burnout among workers (Belgium / Information update)
Through a survey of burnout cases identified at general practitioner (GP) surgeries and health surveillance by occupational health physicians (OPs), the prevalence of burnout in the Belgian working population was estimated at about 0.8% (that is, about 19,000 people). Most people with symptoms of burnout consulted their GP first rather than an OP. Work pressure, organisational change and time pressure were the three most frequently reported factors leading to burnout.
10 February 2012: Effects of physically demanding work on older workers (France / Information update)
The Health and Career (SIP) survey 2007 shows that 35% of older workers have been exposed to at least one type of physical difficulty at work for at least fifteen years. These people are less likely to be in good health and also less likely to be in employment than older workers who are not in jobs that expose them to physical risk. This suggests that persistent physical demands or difficulties at work may be damaging to health and could lead to an early exit from the job market for some workers.
11 November 2011: Could a virtual forest help prevent stress at work? (Sweden / Information update)
A recent pilot study by researchers at the Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences and Lund University explored whether a virtual nature environment can have the same positive effects on health as the real thing. Participants exposed simultaneously to sounds of nature and a visual representation of nature exhibited physiological signs of recovery following a stress stimulus. More research is needed to explore the implications of these findings for everyday life.
14 October 2011: Rise in reported cases of bullying and violence at work (Denmark / Survey data report [ or view as size 136 kb])
The fifth Danish Work Environment Cohort Study, carried out in 2010 by the National Research Centre for the Working Environment, revealed both improvements and a decline in conditions for Danish workers. Compared with 2005, there was a significant increase in the number of people experiencing emotional demands and an increase in those reporting being exposed to bullying, violence and threats of violence. However, social support from colleagues and superiors increased. There was a decrease in the number of people exposed to traditional physical demands such as heavy lifting, but an increase in exposure to loud noise, body vibration and solvents.
07 October 2011: Workers prone to stress and burn-out at work (Luxembourg / Survey data report [ or view as size 165 kb])
Through itssurvey ‘Well-being at work in Luxembourg 2010’carried out by TNS-ILRES in December 2009 to January 2010, the Luxembourg Chamber of Employees (CSL) sought to provide an insight into the feelings of Luxembourg workers in 2010 about their workplace. More than 1,500 employees (both Luxembourg residents and cross-border workers from Belgium, France and Germany) from various economic sectors were asked to answer questions on a range of issues including health and safety, work and society, psychosocial demands ofwork, andergonomics in the workplace.Astriking finding is the high proportion of workers (90%) who claim to have experienced some stress at work, with 20% admitting to having felt burn-out.
26 September 2011: Fewer occupational accidents but more violence at work (Finland / Survey data report [ or view as size 116 kb])
The Finnish National Work and Health Survey of working conditions and occupational health is carried out every three years by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. This report examines trends in occupational accidents and violence, exposure to noise, vibration and chemical substances, physical workload, management interest in well-being at work, achieving work–life balance, health-related behaviour and the role of occupational health services.The desire to stay in work longer, better work–life balance and fewer occupational accidents are among the positive trends reported.
15 September 2011: Monitoring improvements in quality of work in Flanders (Belgium / Survey data report [ or view as size 120 kb])
In 2001 the Flemish Government and social partners agreed to increase substantially the quality of jobs in the region. The Flemish workability monitor was developed to help determine progress in implementing this policy. This survey data report reviews the methods and key findings of the workability monitor between 2004 and 2010. The ‘workability’or quality of work rate increased from 52.3% in 2004 to 54.3% in 2010. This means that over half of Flemish employees do not suffer from stress at work, have a job that motivates them and provides sufficient learning opportunities, and achieve work–life balance.
02 September 2011: Situation of social workers (Poland / Information update)
Two reports published recently by the Institute of Public Affairs on the situation of social workers in Poland are based on extensive qualitative and quantitative research. The reports focus on the working conditions, work identity and professionalisation of social work. In a diverse group, most social workers opt for some institutional form of common representation. They also identified excessive paperwork as one of the main problems they face in their everyday work.
24 August 2011: Impact assessment of mental health on employment (Malta / Information update)
This study examined the obstacles and shortcomings faced by people with mental health problems when at work or trying to find work. Perceptions of people with mental health problems are rather negative. A lack of flexibility, absence of suitable training programmes, stigma and discrimination can hamper those with mental health problems from finding and retaining employment. Recommendations are made on how to create work environments that take account of their needs.
11 August 2011: Survey confirms effectiveness of collective agreements (Latvia / Information update)
The Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia’s seventh survey on working condition issues was conducted in February 2011. The survey investigated workers’ self-assessment of their psycho-emotional state, use of their annual holiday entitlement; frequency of overtime work and its remuneration; and the existence and effectiveness of collective agreements. Many respondents reported feeling tired, stressed, overworked and hopeless. Many also disliked their jobs.
15 July 2011: Importance of trust in creating committed employees (Sweden / Information update)
The view that staff are a company’s most important resource is, in theory, a vital part of today’s corporate model. However, this has proved difficult to implement in reality. Active leadership is worth the effort as it has many corporate benefits. Recent research indicates that, for example, trust between employer and employee is crucial in creating employees’ commitment. This is one of the findings of social scientist Richard Berglund at the University of Gothenburg.
06 July 2011: TUC survey shows rise in psychosocial hazards at work (United Kingdom / Information update)
The results of the Trades Union Congress’s eighth biennial survey of health and safety representatives in the UK indicate an increased prominence for psychosocial hazards in the workplace with stress, bullying/harassment and overwork among the top five hazards faced by workers. The results also show heightened levels of psychosocial hazards in the public sector and within larger organisations. The survey covers 27 psychosocial and physical hazards in the workplace.
06 July 2011: Sick leave rates during the economic crisis (Slovenia / Information update)
The fear and insecurity of employees mean that economic crisis is often followed by a lower sick leave rate. Research by the Slovenian Institute of Public Health established a positive correlation between health absenteeism and a company in crisis. The research, which focused on three companies in the tobacco, textiles and leather sectors of the Slovenian production industry, showed that planned downsizing and bankruptcy triggered an increase in the sick leave rate.
27 May 2011: Night work and working conditions in 2009 (France / Information update)
A recent study by the French government’s statistics body, Dares, found that night work in France has become more prevalent over the past 20 years, with some 3.5 million people working at night either regularly or from time to time. Women are more affected than men by this increase. Public sector employees are more likely to work at night than those in the private sector. The more physical and mentally strenuous working conditions at night are compensated for by higher pay.
15 March 2011: Effects of shift work in the Norwegian petroleum industry on family and social life (Norway / Information update)
The effects of working shifts on 1,697 workers in the Norwegian petroleum industry on social and domestic/family life were investigated based on responses to a questionnaire on work–life balance. Although some problems were reported, especially for the group working ‘one day period and one night period offshore’, most participants reported few problems, suggesting that the availability of more leisure time may be a positive feature of shift work in the industry.
11 March 2011: Happy at work: 10 years of research on job perceptions and evaluations (Belgium / Information update)
The average worker in Flanders is ‘rather happy at work’ according to a new study by an occupational psychologist from the Catholic University of Leuven. ‘Working in Flanders: Exhausting or agreeable?’ presents an analysis of surveys carried out over a period of 10 years by a government research directorate on how people perceive and evaluate their work. The study examines the factors that make work ‘pleasant’ and finds that a job can be stressful but also satisfying.
22 February 2011: The Danish working environment during economic growth (2005–2008) (Denmark / Survey data report [ or view as size 136 kb])
Supplementing the Danish National Working Conditions Survey (DWECS), the Danish National Working Environment Survey (DANES) makes it possible to assess changes in the Danish working environment between 2005 and 2008. The main findings of DANES 2008 highlight a continuation of trends identified in 2005: demands in the psychosocial working environment increased even further while positive factors increasing the health and well-being of employees became more prevalent in the working environment. Moreover, DANES identified a somewhat surprising increase in physical activity of employees between 2005 and 2008
23 November 2010: Germany: EWCO comparative analytical report on Work-related stress (Germany / National Contribution)
The latest reports from the health insurers AOK and Barmer stress that employees’ mental health problems often relate to work-related stress or the demands made on the employee at work. Whilst different findings are available from several sources, it should be noted that the topic of work-related stress and the psychological health of employees has been accorded special attention due to the high economic losses and the long recovery period associated with mental health problems. Health insurers, governmental agencies and social partners have acknowledged the rising importance of work-related stress. However, they take different approaches on how to deal with the issue.
23 November 2010: Denmark: EWCO Comparative analytical report on Work-related Stress (Denmark / National Contribution)
In Denmark, stress has been high on the agenda for many years. It seems evident that work-related stress has increased over the past twenty years. In addition, the nature of work-related stress is subject to much debate among researchers and the social partners. Although stress is a topic of much dispute, it is widely agreed that work-related stress is a problem and interventions on work-related stress are common.
23 November 2010: Austria: EWCO CAR on WORK-RELATED STRESS (Austria / National Contribution)
Work-related stress is mainly understood as time pressure in Austria and hardly connected to its risk factors or health outcomes. However, the Austrian Working Health Monitor revealed that employees who are stressed at work tend do have more health problems than their colleagues who do not feel stressed by particular stress factors. Noteworthy instruments in place in Austria to prevent stress are the IMPULS-test and the “StRess.Moderator” that both focus on stress factors as well as on the resources needed to tackle them and result in certain measures that have to be implemented in the company to improve working conditions and to prevent stress.
23 November 2010: Portugal: EWCO comparative analytical report on Work-related Stress (Portugal / National Contribution)
Monitoring work-related stress in Portugal is not easy given the lack of instruments in place. The available information, mostly based on sectoral studies or focusing on specific occupations, shows that women tend to experience a higher level of stress compared with men. Work-related stress deserves a reference in a couple of national action plans and sectoral projects. However, there is no specific strategy for intervention on work-related stress at the national level. Some good practices in the domain of work-related stress management have been developed by companies, with different dimensions and in diverse sectors.
23 November 2010: Romania: EWCO comparative analytical report on Work-related Stress (Romania / National Contribution)
The institutional framework for health and safety at work has been designed to support the interventions on work-related stress management in all three stages: primary (action on causes), secondary (action on individuals), and tertiary (action on the consequences of stress). According to the 'Living Conditions Survey' data, the share of employed persons that found, at the time, that their occupational work was neuropsychically stressful had dropped from 20.9% in 2002 to 19.2% in 2003 and 2005. In the second quarter of 2007, a number of 520,842 individuals (5.5% of all employed) stated that they were exposed only to factors affecting their mental health. Even if the aspects related to the management of occupation stress are enclosed in the collective agreement this subject remains less approached in practice.
23 November 2010: ‘Poland: EWCO comparative analytical report on Work-related Stress’ (Poland / National Contribution)
The most recent data on the overall level of work-related stress in Poland comes from the 2005 European Working Conditions Survey and was then estimated at 35%. Polish research mainly focus on direct risk factors of work-related stress. While work-related stress outcomes are relatively well covered, there is little evidence on interventions on work-related stress management. The topic is in the periphery of public debate, as more attention is paid to the broadly understood health and safety issues. However, the issue of work-related stress seems to be have been gaining more coverage lately.
23 November 2010: NORWAY: EWCO comparative analytical report on WORK-RELATED STRESS (Norway / National Contribution)
Affecting a significant number of workers, the Norwegian government, social partners, employers and employees have all identified work-related stress an important area. In general, employees reported to have a higher degree of control over how to carry out their tasks than over their pace of work, and about two out of three reported high quantitative job demands in 2006. Following the implementation of the 2004 European framework agreement on work-related stress a number of measurements was introduced and although good data on the nationwide extent of work-related stress are missing, figures for 2002 and 2008 indicates a decreasing trend.
23 November 2010: Lithuania: EWCO comparative analytical report on work-related stress (Lithuania / National Contribution)
In Lithuania, research into work-related stress began already in 1994. Several thousand of workers representing different occupations – teachers, researchers, physicians, medical nurses, actors, journalists, musicians, health care staff, police officers, blue-collar workers, craftsmen, professionals, drivers, etc. – were covered by the research during this period. In addition, the research explored the factors contributing to work-related stress and the interrelations between these factors. Likewise, the effects of work-related stress on changes occurring in the cardiovascular system, ability for work, etc. were analysed. Unfortunately, all the above-mentioned researches have largely been of a one-off nature: there has been no regular and extensive national-level stress monitoring in the country; there neither are any statistical indicators defining work-related stress trends.
23 November 2010: Estonia: EWCO comparative analytical report on Work-related Stress (Estonia / National Contribution)
Work- related stress has not been the topic of any heated public discussions, even though studies indicate that Estonians suffer from high work-related stress. The consequenses of work-related stress – the negative impact on health and work productivity has not reached wider public discussions yet. Some first initiative to aknowledge the problem has been taken by the Labour Inspectorate. For instance, from April 2010 a work-stress assessment tool for employers will be put in place and a social campaign to address the issue will be carried out.
23 November 2010: UK: EWCO CAR on WORK-RELATED STRESS (United Kingdom / National Contribution)
This national contribution reviews research and surveys that deal with the issue of work-related stress in the UK. A significant amount of data on work-related stress is collected by the national Labour Force Survey, in addition to a range of surveys published by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Although work-related stress is acknowledged as a significant cause of absence from work, the reported incidence of stress appears to be relatively stable. Key risk factors for work-related stress include issues such as the demands placed on employees, the level of control they have over their work, clarity about their role in their organisation, their relationships with their colleagues, the level of support they receive from their organisation, and how their organisation manages change. The HSE plays an active role in giving advice and guidance to organisations on how to manage work-related stress and the social partners also offer advice to individuals and organisations.
23 November 2010: EWCO CAR on WORK-RELATED STRESS (Spain / National Contribution)
A large share of Spanish workers are affected by stress. Thus, and according to the sources of information consulted, 27.9% of the occupied experience high levels of stress, and 17.2% suffer from very high levels. Stressful conditions are perceived especially by women and by older workers, as well as workers in economic sectors such as Public Administration and Education, Health and Veterinary Services and Social Services. Finally, the main organisation intervening on work-related stress management in Spain is the Spanish National Institute of Safety and Hygiene in the Workplace
23 November 2010: CYPRUS: EWCO comparative analytical report on Work-related Stress (Cyprus / National Contribution)
This questionnaire analyses the work related stress in Cyprus concerning the stress factors and indicators in different sectors of economic activity. Even though employees and workers believe that they suffer from work related stress, according to studies there isn't a recent debate among social partners concerning this matter. However Trade unions and the Department of Labour Inspection are stressed out the need to develop a common action plan by all the interested groups in order to combat and eliminate the stress and its effects.
23 November 2010: Belgium: EWCO comparative analytical report on Work-related Stress (Belgium / National Contribution)
Although recurrent national data are missing, it seems that a (stable) 30% of the employees in the country are confronted with stress-at-work. A range of high-academic studies exist in the country which explores determinants and outcomes of this stress phenomenon. This academic richness is complemented with a growing and legally-backed policy concern to tackle the stress issue, although a high intervention culture at workplace level stays an exception.
23 November 2010: Slovakia: EWCO comparative analytical report on Work-related Stress (Slovakia / National Contribution)
There are no special instruments used for the monitoring of work-related stress at the national level. However, partial research, which analysed bullying and sexual harassment in 2006, dealt also with work-related stress. In 2009, health insurance agencies reported increasing number of employees suffering from diseases, which can be attributed to the stress generated by unemployment during economic crisis. From 2008, the Public Health Authority performs activities aimed at the reduction of psychical workload, including stress at work. It provides guiding, including remedy measures, for employers and employees to prevent work-related stress.
23 November 2010: MALTA EWCO CAR on WORK-RELATED STRESS (Malta / National Contribution)
Time pressure or work overload is affecting one out of every four Maltese workers yet there is little evidence that this subject is being given attention it merits at the national or organisational level. Data on the subject is extremely limited and monitoring is not being done on a regular basis.
23 November 2010: France: EWCO comparative analytical report on work-related stress (France / National Contribution)
Work related stress has long been a controversial issue both inside the scientific community and between the social partners. Thus, when this issue came on the top of the agenda, questions raised on the monitoring of the risk. Further studies showed that, among the various national surveys, a large range of data already exists, covering most aspects of the issue. Beyond these debates among experts, work related stress has become the major OSH issue in the media after a series of suicides at the workplace in major French companies. In this context, the government called for all companies with over 1,000 workers to open negotiations on stress in the first term of 2010.
19 November 2010: Work-related stress (TRANS NATIONAL / Comparative analytical report [ or view as size 416 kb])
This report examines the issue of work-related stress in the 27 EU Member States and Norway. Studies capturing data on work-related stress in individual countries differ in terms of their scope, methodology and coverage. The main risk factors for work-related stress include heavy workload, long working hours, lack of control and autonomy at work, poor relationships with colleagues, poor support at work and the impact of organisational change. These factors can be difficult to address, especially if they have resource implications. The main outcomes (individual, organisational and societal) of work-related stress include physical and mental health problems, absence from work, reduced quality of outputs, increased welfare and medical spending, and reduced productivity. Company-level examples of best practice in stress management highlight the need for good quality data on work-related stress, a robust stress policy, the involvement of all relevant actors, good communications, and the importance of buy-in from senior management.
10 September 2010: Link between psychosocial factors, perceived stress and musculoskeletal injuries (Sweden / Information update)
The effects of major efforts in the field of ergonomics to reduce the risk of musculosketal disorders (MSDs) tend to fall short of what might be expected, possibly due to the lack of attention to improving the psychosocial working environment and a lack of interventions at an organisational level as well as at an individual level. Interventions to improve working conditions and reduce stress could have a major impact on recovery from MSDs and days lost to sickness.
24 August 2010: Negative impact of musculoskeletal disorders on Irish labour market (Ireland / Information update)
Recent research as part of the wider European ‘Fit for work’ study examined the negative impact of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) on the working lives of Irish workers and the Irish labour market. MSDs are the most commonly reported cause of work-related ill health in Ireland and the annual direct cost of MSDs at work is estimated to be at least €750 million. More than twice as many working days are lost through MSDs in Ireland than are lost to stress.
10 August 2010: Working conditions in healthcare professions (Austria / Information update)
A recent survey of 1,000 workers from various healthcare professions in Lower Austria found that, in the rapidly expanding healthcare sector, high levels of satisfaction with the work itself is found alongside high work pressures and poor working conditions. The study differentiates between four major factors – work organisation, psychological stress, physical health risks and client contact. Its authors consider it to be highly representative of the sector.
01 July 2010: New outlook for occupational risk trends (Denmark / Information update)
A new report published by the Danish Working Environment Authority provides an outlook for occupational risk trends for the period 2010 to 2020. The report emphasises that occupational risks should not be considered as changing abruptly but rather as evolving gradually. According to the report, the main working environment issues to be addressed in the labour market as a whole are psychosocial and musculoskeletal risk exposure together with work-related accidents.
09 April 2010: Care workers in hospitals exposed to high level of risks (France / Information update)
Some 86% of care workers in French hospitals are women. According to an analysis of the SUMER 2003 survey results, their job is characterised by a significantly higher level of exposure to professional risks in relation to working time, organisational and physical strains, as well as exposure to radiation and biological or chemical products. However, they do not express a greater desire to change their job than workers in other sectors of the economy.
08 March 2010: Impact of new management practices on working conditions (Germany / Information update)
The results of the 2008–2009 works council survey, carried out by the Institute of Economic and Social Research within the Hans Böckler Foundation, highlight the effects of various management practices on work strains in German companies. The survey findings provide a new insight into health risk management at establishment level, also highlighting that only a minority of companies are carrying out health risk assessments, albeit being prescribed by law.
08 March 2010: Impact of ‘Toyota model’ in healthcare sector (Sweden / Information update)
A recent study by Stockholm University assesses the correlation between shorter working hours and improvements in health, well-being and the level of physiological stress among workers in the healthcare sector. The study evaluates the effect of introducing a new working time model, the so-called ‘Toyota model’, and its effect on employee health and work satisfaction. It concludes that the new working time model has no significant effect on workers’ health or stress levels.
08 March 2010: Poor working conditions lead to risks for pregnant women (Ireland / Information update)
Poor working conditions may increase the chances of pregnant women having underweight or premature babies, according to recent findings by researchers from University College Dublin and the French public health organisation INSERM. In particular, pregnant women who work long hours, shifts, on temporary employment contracts or in positions with high physical work demands may be at increased risk of giving birth to small or premature babies.
08 March 2010: Companies and stress management systems (Belgium / Information update)
A 2009 company survey by researchers from the University of Liège shows that Belgian companies still have a long way to go in developing a systematic, integrated stress management system. Time and money constraints are significant obstacles in this regard, as well as restructuring and organisational change. Strong involvement by top management and other hierarchical levels represent positive factors in developing a full system of diagnosis, action and evaluation.
17 February 2010: Female workers more prone to psychological disorders (France / Information update)
In 2006, the French Institute for Health Surveillance set up the Samotrace programme to assess the relations between mental health and work. The first findings show a high level of psychological distress among workers, mainly among women and in certain economic sectors, such as financial services and public administration. The study’s results also reveal high correlations with psychosocial factors at work, such as imbalance in terms of ‘effort-reward’ and over-commitment.
05 February 2010: Negative health outcomes resulting from bullying in the workplace (Denmark / Information update)
A recent Danish study confirms that bullying leads to sleep problems and symptoms of severe stress among victims. Moreover, witnesses to bullying are found to react in the same manner, albeit to a lesser degree. On the positive side, systematic and frequent exposure to bullying is quite limited. However, negative behaviour in the workplace is very common, with 79.5% of the respondents being exposed at least sometimes to work-related negative acts.
02 December 2009: Public administration employees report problems due to working on computers (Czech Republic / Information update)
A survey on work environment and working conditions in public administration showed that working with computers is one of the biggest sources of discomfort for public administration employees. For instance, 74% of them report having eye tiredness and 70% cite musculoskeletal disorders. Although information technologies are now a fundamental tool in this sector, one third of respondents declare that they do not lighten their workload.
02 December 2009: Impact of restructuring on health and safety of workers (EU Level / Information update)
Restructuring processes generally have a negative impact on workers, although a small number of positive effects are also observed. These are the findings of a report on the impact of restructuring on workers’ health and safety, as well as their quality of working life, with a particular focus on psychosocial risks. The findings are based on an analysis of 58 organisational and 33 occupational case studies, highlighting some cross-national trends in health and safety.
05 October 2009: Employers underline importance of well-being at work (Sweden / Information update)
The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise recently published a study seeking to examine employers’ perspectives on workers who are experiencing difficulties at work. The research highlights how workers who are dissatisfied with their job and unable to get on at work are particularly vulnerable during times of economic recession, especially in relation to the risk of long-term unemployment.
25 September 2009: Work-related accidents and risks among migrant workers (Norway / Information update)
Based on data from the immigrant living conditions survey in Norway for 2005–2006, occupational factors important for health and well-being have been examined among immigrants from Asia, Africa, South America and southeast Europe. In general, the incidence of injuries at work as well as exposure to physical, chemical, mechanical and psychosocial strain appear to be higher among immigrant workers in Norway compared with the entire workforce.
31 August 2009: Disparities in quality of work linked to education and socioeconomic status (Denmark / Information update)
A recent study published by the Economic Council of the Labour Movement examines the link between educational levels and socioeconomic status on the one hand, and the quality of the working environment on the other hand. The study finds that overall risk exposure is inversely proportional to workers’ length of education and socioeconomic status. Moreover, the quality of the working environment appears to be closely related to the incidence and duration of absence from work.
29 June 2009: High levels of work-related stress in agricultural sector (Hungary / Information update)
Secondary analysis of data from a recent survey on wage levels and working conditions among Hungarian employees revealed a high level of reported stress in the agricultural sector. Most of the agricultural workers complained about physical exhaustion and tiredness at the end of their working day, which contributes to stress. Some 60% of workers complained of working to tight deadlines. Preventive measures in the workplace are needed to address this situation.
29 June 2009: Social workers express dissatisfaction with job safety and wages (Lithuania / Information update)
A 2008 survey in Lithuania aimed to analyse the working conditions of people doing social work, to assess the professional risks involved and to identify opportunities for improving their working conditions. The results showed that most of the social workers felt that their relations with colleagues and superiors were good, as were the opportunities for improving their qualifications. However, most respondents were not satisfied with their wages and the safety of the job.
21 May 2009: Impact of teamwork on quality of working life (Belgium / Information update)
Based on insights derived from the socio-technical systems theory, a recent study carried out in the Flemish metalworking sector makes a specific yet fundamental contribution to the topical debate regarding the connection between organisational design and quality of working life. The study among blue-collar metalworkers shows that working in a team has only a limited impact on workers’ stress levels. Assembly line work remains the determining negative factor.
14 April 2009: Employee involvement in health and safety in financial sector (Italy / Information update)
According to several local-level surveys, intense restructuring in the Italian financial services sector since 1994 has led to widespread stress and other psychosocial outcomes, such as mobbing and burnout. The joint survey by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Prevention and the Independent Federation of Italian Bank Workers reveals low employee involvement in managing, implementing and assessing health and safety policies, but higher access to training and information.
23 March 2009: Joint report on implementation of work-related stress agreement (EU Level / Information update)
On 15 December 2008, the European social partners presented their joint report on the implementation of the autonomous framework agreement on work-related stress, adopted at EU level in 2004. According to the joint implementation report, the autonomous framework agreement has contributed to improving the cooperation between workers and employers in efforts seeking to identify, prevent and manage stress.
16 March 2009: High levels of stress in public administration work (Bulgaria / Information update)
Working in public administration appears to be associated with high levels of stress, according to the findings of a survey carried out in the framework of an EU-funded project for improving human resource management in this sector. The main stress factor reported by over half of the survey respondents was the low level of remuneration. Other work-related stress factors included high workload, too many and diversified tasks, time pressure and low levels of autonomy.
05 January 2009: Customer demands found to be major driver of work pace and stress (Norway / Information update)
In the European Working Conditions Survey in 2005, Norwegian employees reported the highest score for pace of work determined by customer and client demands. This orientation towards customers has developed over several years, and relates to other significant trends such as fewer colleagues, more tasks, increased responsibility, lack of support and less visible management. Customer and client demands represent one of several ‘pace driving relational factors’.
22 December 2008: Lack of predictability main cause of stress in workplace (Norway / Information update)
The Norwegian researcher Lars Andersen has published new research on the organisational factors that lead to stress in companies. ‘Lack of predictability’ is identified as the single biggest stressor in Norwegian working life, caused by factors such as disturbances and unexpected changes in the workplace, along with improvised solutions and a breakdown in communication. This leads to stress and inefficiency in companies, resulting in a ‘loss-loss’ situation for both workers and management.
24 September 2008: Tackling occupational burnout at the workplace (Finland / Information update)
Finland is known for active interventions in occupational health. However, employees with burnout participate less often in improvement programmes of work practices, occupational training and measures to reduce mental stress than those with no burnout. Instead, they are more often targets of individual-focused interventions, like counselling, pharmacotherapy and non-vocational rehabilitation. About half of employees report that burnout cases occur at their workplace.
08 September 2008: High job satisfaction but insecurity about pay and retirement (Austria / Survey data report [ or view as size 93 kb])
Based on data obtained from the Austrian Working Climate Survey, this report examines aspects of job satisfaction, revealing generally high levels of satisfaction among the respondents overall. The report also raises the question of whether the existence of a works council makes a difference in this context. At the same time, it assesses people’s feelings of security or insecurity in relation to the future, revealing significant fears concerning employability and income in retirement. Furthermore, the report examines aspects of workload strain, such as time pressure, with women reporting lower levels of work strain than men with regard to all aspects of working conditions.
10 December 2007: Impact of high job strain on health over time (Belgium / Information update)
A doctoral thesis on ‘Psychosocial job stress in relation to health’ at Ghent University reveals significant health effects of stressful jobs, including a greater probability of high blood pressure, lower back pain and depression. A further noteworthy finding was the observed gender difference in work-related health outcomes: women with stressful jobs were more exposed to psychological health problems while men were more likely to report physical health problems.
23 July 2007: Working conditions in corporate consultancy (Austria / Information update)
Corporate consultancy is a high-profile economic sector, with significant growth in employment levels across Europe in recent years. Nevertheless, the sector faces certain problems with regard to working conditions. Research findings indicate that consultancy work is characterised by high workload, increased work pressure, long working hours and considerable demand for mobility.
02 July 2007: Stress prevention initiatives need to be evaluated (Denmark / Information update)
The topic of stress is a high priority on the public agenda in Denmark and there have been significant efforts made both to prevent and deal with stress. Whether these efforts are having a positive impact is insufficiently monitored, according to a new analysis of the National Institute of Public Health. The latter has identified several problems concerning stress prevention and treatment programmes, including a lack of programmes targeting people outside the labour market.
11 June 2007: Stress at work on the increase (United Kingdom / Information update)
In December 2006, the Department of Trade and Industry examined the nature of job quality in the UK using nationally representative survey data from 1998 and 2004. In doing so, it focused partially on issues relating to employee stress and effort. Significantly, there appears to be little change in work intensity levels between the two survey dates, but stress levels are reported to be on the increase.
21 May 2007: Industrial workers most exposed to job strain (France / Information update)
Analysis of the 2003 SUMER survey results reveals five groups of workers who are exposed to risks at work. These risks relate to work-related stress and strain, in line with the ‘Karasek model’. The results indicate that the group of workers most at risk of job strain are those working in industry. Conversely, white-collar workers are the least at risk of job strain among the five groups identified.
14 May 2007: Increase in levels of stress at work (Denmark / Information update)
In Denmark, the topic of stress is at present high on the public agenda and numerous surveys present divergent findings in relation to stress levels among the population. Researchers from the National Research Centre for the Working Environment have expressed concern that the current preoccupation with stress may lead survey respondents to report being stressed even though they may not actually be so. Nevertheless, it remains clear that work-related stress levels have increased and that women are relatively more exposed to stress than men.
13 March 2007: Survey highlights rise in psychosocial demands at work (Denmark / Survey data report [ or view as size 369 kb])
The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, formerly the National Institute of Occupational Health, has conducted the fourth Danish Work Environment Cohort Study (DWECS) covering the five-year period 2000–2005. The 2005 results indicate no clear trend of overall better or worse conditions for workers. Nevertheless, an increase in psychosocial demands at the workplace has been identified, such as a high pace of work, a demanding workload and emotional demands. Conversely, the study also reveals increases in decision latitude, better future prospects in the job and more support for workers from superiors. However, considerable differences among workers persist in relation to jobs, sectors and gender.
02 March 2007: Work and employment in the creative industries (Austria / Information update)
Between July 2004 and January 2007, Joanneum Research and FORBA carried out a research project focusing on work and employment in selected subsectors of the ‘creative industries’ in the capital city, Vienna. The five subsectors examined were advertising, architecture, design (graphic, product and fashion), film, radio and video, and multimedia. As part of the project, a quantitative survey was carried out among 910 workers in Vienna’s creative industries.
25 September 2006: High stress levels in financial services and insurance sector (Denmark / Information update)
A survey carried out by the Financial Services Union and the Danish Centre for Alternative Social Analysis examines the causes of consistently high levels of stress in the financial services and insurance sector. Comparing the figures with those of 2001, the trends indicate more standardised work for some employees but more highly flexible work for others – in the latter case, to the extent that the conditions of work are practically without limits. Such ‘limitless’ work, which seems to be on the rise, is a contributory factor in the increased prevalence of stress.
21 August 2006: Survey reveals ‘moderate’ levels of occupational stress (Luxembourg / Information update)
In Luxembourg, around one in four working people experiences a high or very high level of stress, according to the findings of a 2005 survey. The survey examines disparities that emerge in relation to sex, occupational and educational level, and sector. It also identifies diverse stress factors and their impact on stress levels. An important aspect of the study was its focus on people’s perceptions of occupational stress.
12 January 2006: Work-related disorders in Sweden (Sweden / Survey data report [ or view as size 64 kb])
One in four employed persons in Sweden has suffered from a work-related disorder in the past 12 months, according to the latest Swedish Work-related disorders survey. This survey data report focuses on disorders resulting from occupational accidents, stress and ergonomic factors. It identifies the most common ailments affecting men and women, outlines the occupations most at risk, examines sickness absence rates, and considers the problem of under-reporting.
30 November 2005: Working conditions in the banking sector (Bulgaria / Information update)
A risk assessment survey among employees in the banking sector found that the main risk factor perceived by the respondents is computer use and its related effects: poor sitting position (reported by 76%, leading to musculoskeletal disorders) and eye problems due to excessive use of screens (reported by 91%).
03 November 2005: Occupational risks in the electricity sector (Romania / Information update)
Operators in the electricity supply sector face particular stress in the workplace, a study reveals. They have a high pace of work, which demands great precision and concentration. In addition to suffering from work overload and high occupational risk, they have to cope with considerable responsibilities in terms of decision-making and problem-solving.
13 April 2005: Mental stress in flexible jobs (Germany / Information update)
Workers in several occupations, characterised by flexible location and time arrangements, experience a heavy mental workload, a screening procedure has found.
25 February 2005: Managing the risk of work-related stress (EU Level / Information update)
A study on managing occupational stress takes a risk management approach to the evaluation of stress in the workplace. It offers practical guidance on assessing, evaluating and reducing work-related stress, based on international research findings.
23 February 2005: Weaknesses in safety, hygiene and health at work (Portugal / Information update)
According to a working conditions survey of 2,500 Portuguese workers, there are significant weaknesses in safety, hygiene and health measures in the workplace. Among the causes are lack of motivation due to low wages, a disregard for protective equipment, and a low level of worker participation in risk prevention procedures.
14 February 2005: Work-related stress (EU Countries / Topic report [ or view as size 210 kb])
Changes in the content and organisation of work in recent decades have resulted in an intensification of work, which is commonly regarded as a cause of stress. This report presents trends in the risks and consequences of work-related stress, and identifies how these can be prevented. The analysis is based on national surveys and research information available in the EU, as well as recent research findings.
23 January 2004: Work environment statistics in Sweden (Sweden / Survey data report [ or view as size 88 kb])
Working environment surveys have been carried out in Sweden every two years since 1989. Since 1991, the surveys have included questions on work-related health problems. These surveys are designed to provide information against which reported occupational illnesses and injuries can be compared. This information also helps streamline reporting procedures. Findings reveal that work-related stress is on the increase, particularly in certain occupations.