With Brussels now firmly ‘Back to School’ stress levels should be rising steadily. Eurocrats may have missed a timely summer initiative from the European Commission aimed at tackling the most frequently reported work-related health problem in Europe – stress.
Stress is believed to be the cause of the majority of all lost working days, according to the European Commission. The European Executive, in its earnest desire to keep the Single Market chugging along welcomed the “Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress” campaign launched by the European Agency for Safety at Health at Work to raise awareness about the psychological, physical and social risks linked to stress at work.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor, has stated that stress and psychosocial risks is one of the challenges covered by the forthcoming EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020, which was presented in June.
Andor said: “Work-related stress not only takes a high toll on employees’ well-being, but also adversely affects the overall performance of European companies. Stress can and should be managed, and employers and workers organisations must work together to better protect and promote mental health at work.”
Workers affected by stress find it difficult to concentrate, make more mistakes and are subject to more frequent accidents at work. Prolonged psychological pressure may result in serious health problems such as cardiovascular or musculoskeletal diseases, leading to poor working performance and more absenteeism.
The campaign aims to help employers’ and workers’ representatives, managers and workers to identify and manage stress and psychological, physical and social risks in the workplace. It also promotes the use of simple tools, which can help organisations to effectively manage such risks. Reducing stress at work helps to create a healthy work environment in which workers feel valued, where the workplace culture is more positive, and, consequently, business productivity improves.
The Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2014–2015 ‘Manage Stress’ is run by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. The campaign will build partnerships with employer and trade union organisations committed to promoting practices to manage work-related stress and psychosocial risks across Europe – if you’re stuck on a train to Strasbourg this week, you might want to read it…