Taking mental health at work seriously

25 % of EU citizens will experience mental health problems in their lifetime as result of poor work-design & high workloads according to EU estimates.

Cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, dermatologic problems, suicide, relationship problems with colleagues (as well as with family and friends), and increased risk of violence are all potential consequences of mental health problems. In turn employee performance and productivity, rates of sick leave, absenteeism, accidents and staff turnover all suffer as a result of such problems.

This week a welcome light is being shone on dealing with these work related risks.

October 19-23 is the European Week for Safety and Health at Work, and focusses this year on raising awareness of managing stress and psychosocial risks at work.

“Mental health problems due to work are more common than is often realised, and entirely preventable” said Esther Lynch, Confederal Secretary at the European Trade Union Confederation. “Employers need to take the risks more seriously, and should involve union reps in assessing work-related mental health risks.”

“The EU also needs to go beyond raising awareness, and take legislative action instead of endless reviews to check whether health and safety rules are a burden on business. The European Union should recognize the cost to workers of employers’ bad health and safety practices, and be taking fresh measures to protect the health and lives of workers.”


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