• Alex Davies
  • 20 October 2015

2015’s European Week for Safety and Health at Work focuses on stress

Yesterday marked the start of European Week for Safety and Health at Work – a week-long initiative, held in October every year, to promote healthy and safe workplaces across the continent, focusing in particular this year on stress.

Events will be held across Europe to mark the occasion and put stress and psychosocial risks in the workplace in the spotlight. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and its network of partners aim to get Europe talking about how we can tackle these risks together.

EU-OSHA’s network of national focal points is hosting numerous events in more than 30 countries to highlight the campaign messages. Topics include stress and psychosocial risk in relation to working hours, a new protocol dealing with bullying and harassment, evaluation of psychosocial risks in small companies or the relationship between occupational safety and health (OSH) institutions, the educational sector and companies in the management of psychosocial risks. Conferences presenting activities implemented during the two years of the campaign are scheduled in Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Spain and Sweden.

This year’s European Week also highlights two particular issues – sexual harassment and third party violence – for which two new infographics have been produced. The first explains what constitutes sexual harassment, the number of workers affected and what measures companies can implement to deal with the issue. The second describes third party violence – the most prevalent psychosocial risk for European enterprises – who it affects most, occupations at risk and its effects on workers.

Dr Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA explains:

“Although violence can potentially affect any workplace and any worker, certain work characteristics increase the risks. Working face-to-face with clients, customers or others outside the organisation increases the risk of violent incidents, also known as ‘third party violence’.”

Shortly after the European Week, on 3 and 4 November 2015, the Healthy Workplaces Summit 2015 will take place in Bilbao, Spain. Leading European experts and decision-makers will discuss the final results of the two-year campaign, strategies and programmes for managing stress and psychosocial risk at work as well as the future of occupational safety and health in Europe.