European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 7 April 2014

Health and Safety: Commission welcomes EU-wide campaign to manage stress at work
Stress is one of the most frequently reported work-related health problem in Europe and is believed to be the cause of the majority of all lost working days. The European Commission therefore welcomes the "Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress" campaign launched today by the European Agency for Safety at Health at Work (EU-OSHA) to raise awareness about the psychological, physical and social risks linked to stress at work. The campaign launch brings together EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor, Greek Deputy Minister for Labour, Social Security and Welfare, Vasilis Kegkeroglou, representing the Greek EU Council Presidency and EU-OSHA Director Dr Christa Sedlatschek.

Addressing stress and psychosocial risks is one of the challenges covered by the forthcoming EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020, due to be presented in June.

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor said: "Work-related stress not only takes a high toll on employees' well-being, but also adversely affects the overall performance of European companies. Stress can and should be managed, and employers and workers organisations must work together to better protect and promote mental health at work. I welcome the fact that this new campaign will focus on reducing the damage done by stress at work."

Workers affected by stress find it difficult to concentrate, make more mistakes and are subject to more frequent accidents at work. Prolonged psychological pressure may result in serious health problems such as cardiovascular or musculoskeletal diseases, leading to poor working performance and more absenteeism.

The campaign aims to help employers’ and workers’ representatives, managers and workers to identify and manage stress and psychological, physical and social risks in the workplace. It also promotes the use of simple tools which can help organisations to effectively manage such risks. Reducing stress at work helps to create a healthy work environment in which workers feel valued, where the workplace culture is more positive, and, consequently, business productivity improves.

Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2014–2015 ‘Manage Stress’ is run by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). The campaign will build partnerships with employer and trade union organisations committed to promoting practices to manage work-related stress and psychosocial risks across Europe. All organisations are invited to support this action and become official campaign partners. The Healthy Workplaces Campaign is also backed by the EU institutions and the European social partners.

A key activity will be the European Good Practice Award, to be launched on 15 April 2014. Applications are encouraged from all European organisations who are successfully implementing measures to reduce extreme strain to workers.

The campaign guide helps employers, managers, workers and workers’ representatives to recognise and manage stress and psychosocial risks in the workplace.

The campaign toolkit provides a collection of resources and examples to help raise awareness and increase understanding of such risks.