European employers face stress challenge
Although almost 80% of European managers express concern about work-related stress, only 26% of their organisations have procedures in place to deal with the issue. This is the headline finding of a large European study of new and emerging workplace health and safety risks, covering 36,000 managers and health and safety representatives in public and private sector organisations employing at least 10 people.
Just over 40% of managers find it more difficult to tackle psychological risks than other health and safety issues, primarily due to the sensitivity of the issue and lack of awareness. The management of psychological risks at work is more common in the health and social care sector, and in large organisations more generally. Southern European countries, with the exception of Spain, show less awareness of the issue and are less likely to take action to manage risks to mental health.
Those employers with procedures in place typically handle psychological risks by providing training and implementing changes in work organisation. Only half of organisations inform workers of risks to mental health.
Future reports in the survey series will cover psychological risk management, including drivers and barriers.
- 'European survey of enterprises on new and emerging risks', European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, June 2010, osha.europa.eu/en/publications/reports/en_esener1-summary.pdf
Lab work pregnancy risk
Female laboratory workers are more likely to have low birth weight babies than a comparison group of teachers, according to this study of Finnish workers.
The authors suggest that lab workers are commonly exposed to chemical, biological and physical agents, and can also adopt poor postures for long periods and be engaged in moving and handling - all factors that may increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in female staff.
- 'Laboratory work and adverse pregnancy outcomes', Halliday-Bell J A et al, Occupational Medicine 2010 60(4), pp310-313.
The way that occupational physicians (OPs) and general practitioners (GPs) report cases of work-related ill healt