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A fond farewell to the Manage Stress campaign

The Healthy Workplaces Campaign is wrapping up nearly two years of promoting the importance of managing psychosocial risks and stress in workplaces across Europe. Over this time much has been done to raise awareness, thanks in a large part to the dedicated efforts of more than 30 National Focal Points and their networks, over 100 Official Campaign Partners, and 34 Media Partners.
Dec 01, 2015

According to EU-OSHA Director Dr Christa Sedlatschek, ‘It is now abundantly clear that stress can hit any of us, at any time, over our working lives regardless of age, or sex, or status. The good news is that the campaign has comprehensively shown that stress can be beaten. My hope now is that we recognise stress as something unacceptable and that we feel empowered to tackle it together.’

Director Sedlatschek was speaking to a group of over 300 delegates who gathered at the Healthy Workplaces Summit last month in Bilbao, Spain to mark the close of the campaign. Among them were occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals, decision makers, policy advisors, representatives of employers and trade unions, and others. It was a unique opportunity to reflect on the successes of the campaign, lessons learned, to exchange good practice and foster discussion on managing stress and psychosocial risks in workplaces, especially putting research into practice.

One such piece of useful research providing much-needed data to policy-makers is the ESENER 2 survey results. Among questionnaire responses from thousands of businesses across Europe, 58 % said that the most commonly reported psychosocial risk factor is dealing with difficult 3rd parties (clients, pupils, patients), followed by time pressure (43 %). Meanwhile 53 % reported not having sufficient information on how to include psychosocial risks in their risk assessments.

Other research made available includes the release of the report ‘Psychosocial risks in Europe: Prevalence and strategies for prevention’ and the publication on ‘Calculating the cost of work-related stress and psychosocial risks.’

To put good stress management into practice, the e-guide was released as another chief component to the campaign. Available in 33 country language versions, the online tool has been designed to respond to the needs of employers and people working in small enterprises by helping them to approach the management of psychosocial risks and stress in their work environments and to foster awareness and understanding of it.

Another highlight from the campaign was the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards recognising leading examples of companies and organisations who proactively managed stress and psychosocial risks with a participative approach.

Other key moments were the hundreds of specialised events organised by National Focal Points that took place across Europe including seminars, film screenings and information sessions, as well as a series of benchmarking events hosted by Official Campaign Partners to share best practices. Plus more people than ever before got active on social media to exchange and share best practices and information about stress at work using the hashtag #EUmanagestress.

Throughout the campaign, special topical focus was given to different types of psychosocial risks such as organisational change, bullying, third party violence, sexual harassment, time pressure, long working hours. Some of these issues were exemplified by the Healthy Workplaces mascot, Napo, in his film When Stress Strikes.

But that’s not all, a new Healthy Workplaces campaign is just around the corner. To be launched in spring 2016 under the theme ‘Healthy Workplaces for All Ages’, this new campaign will concentrate on developing sustainable working lives. It will aim to raise awareness of the importance of good occupational safety and health management at any age and tailoring work to individual abilities.

We would like to thank everyone again for their involvement in EU-OSHA’s efforts to make Europe a safer, healthier and more productive place to work and invite you all to stay tuned for more announcements about the next campaign in the New Year!

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