Psychosocial Risks in the Workplace: An Increasing Challenge for German and International Health Protection

Roland Portuné
2012 Arhiv za Higijenu Rada i Toksikologiju  
Occupational health in a changing world has to face up to psychosocial risks to protect the health of employees now and in the future. Faster production, service and communication processes, a service-and knowledge-based society, an increasing proportion of intellectual work, growing complexity of work-related demands, new technologies and constant availability, mobility demands, and job insecurity contribute to the problem of psychosocial risks in the workplace. Psychosocial risks affect both
more » ... risks affect both physical and psychosocial health. There is scientifi c evidence of the link between psychosocial work-related stress and cardiovascular diseases, affective disorders or musculoskeletal disorders, especially chronic back pain. The Framework Directive on Safety and Health makes it very clear that employers are obliged "to ensure the safety and health of workers in every aspect relating to work". In spite of these far reaching obligations, a kind of taboo sometimes makes it hard to focus on topics that have psychosocial implications. A large number of models, instruments and methods are now available to gauge psychosocial risks in the workplace. Given the clear contrast between knowledge and application, there is not a lack of knowledge in this regard, but rather a lack of application. In Germany, statutory accident insurance institutions are guided by two key principles: putting prevention before rehabilitation and rehabilitation before compensation. To prevent work-related health risks the BG RCI has developed several prevention tools to help employers and employees deal with psychosocial risks in the workplace.
doi:10.2478/10004-1254-63-2012-2212 pmid:22728794 fatcat:khygjhvltnb47eptl44ps6rkae