Prevention of work-related stress

Foto: IG Metall

Prevention of work-related stress needs
shop floor initia­ti­ves and obli­gatory
regu­la­tion. Klaus Pickshaus, Director
Work Structuring and Vocational
Training Politics Directorate, explains
the posi­tion of IG Metall.

Work-related stress is "one of the big­gest health pro­blems in the 21st cen­tury", decla­res World Health Organization. After the great finan­cial and eco­no­mic cri­ses enter­prise restruc­tu­ring acce­le­ra­tes and as a result work inten­si­fi­ca­tion and work-related stress is increasing.

The European social part­ners’ Framework Agreement on Work-related Stress of 2004 argues: "Work-related stress can be cau­sed by dif­fe­rent fac­tors such as work con­tent, work orga­ni­sa­tion, work environ­ment, poor com­mu­ni­ca­tion. If a pro­blem of work-related stress is iden­ti­fied, action must be taken to prevent, eli­mi­nate or reduce it."

The European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER) noti­ced that 79% of European mana­gers are con­cer­ned by work-related stress, but less than a third of com­pa­nies have set pro­ce­du­res ready to deal with it. Especially in Germany the esta­blish­ment with pro­ce­dure to deal with work-related stress is unful­fil­led. If we look what are the main dri­vers for bet­ter preven­tion the ESENER Survey gives the fol­lo­wing ans­wers: The major rea­sons for addres­sing psy­cho­so­cial risks in the esta­blish­ment are at first (63 %) the ful­fil­ment of legal obli­ga­ti­ons and secondly (36 %) the requests of employees or their representatives.

But the range of shop floor initia­ti­ves will remain limited if there is not enough pres­sure by obli­gatory regu­la­tion. The Report of the European Commission on the imple­men­ta­tion of the Framework Agreement on Work-related Stress in February 2011 shows that many EU-member sta­tes impro­ved the natio­nal regu­la­tion on work-related stress.

The con­clu­sion from the IG Metall point of view is: We need bet­ter and more obli­gatory regu­la­tion to force and sup­port shop floor initia­ti­ves for prevention.

IG Metall has deve­l­o­ped a tool: It is cal­led "stress­ba­ro­me­ter" which is ment to sup­port works coun­cils. And, to close the gap in legis­la­tion con­cerning psy­cho­so­cial risks, IG Metall has star­ted the "Anti-Stress-Initiative" to for­ward this part of health manage­ment as an obli­gatory regulation.

For detailed data see DGB-Index Good Work: Download PDF

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