Work-related psychosocial risks and stress are considered a new and emerging area of Occupational Safety & Health (OSH). The challenges associated with this issue are exasperated by changes in today’s work place, including constantly evolving concepts including new forms of contractual relationships, remote or hybrid working and digital technologies that make it increasingly difficult to disconnect from work.
The link between psychosocial risks, work-related stress and workers’ health and safety has been confirmed in a wide range of studies carried out across different countries, sectors and organisation. While acknowledging the role of individual dispositions and general life circumstances, it has been shown that stress stemming from work-related factors may significantly affect workers’ functioning in and outside work (Rugulies et al., 2006; Nieuwenhuijsen et al., 2010; EU-OSHA, 2011).
It is well established that physical and mental health are interrelated, and psychosocial risks that may cause mental ill-health are related to other physical health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. New evidence published by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work in 2021 also shows the link between psychosocial factors and musculoskeletal disorders. Meanwhile, other studies show that many people who develop a physical health problem will go on to develop a mental health problem as well. A relationship between psychosocial work environment and accidents has also been indicated.
Promoting mental health at work has become a vital response to these challenges since the workplace is both a major factor in the development of mental and physical health problems but also a platform for the introduction and development of appropriate preventive measures.