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Decreasing and Preventing Psychological Hazards

Viimati uuendatud: 15.10.2019


Decreasing and Preventing Psychological Hazards

Possibilities to advance the well-being of employees and prevent occupational stress depend on the specific institution, organization of work, employees’ expectations and characteristics, existing resources and much more, but the rule of thumb for shaping a positive psychosocial working environment is to involve employees in decisions about them, open information exchange, optimal workload and zero tolerance of occupational violence (including any signs of bullying and harassment).

When planning activities to improve the psychosocial working environment, it must be remembered that it is always more efficient and cheaper to prevent the problem on the organization level through good management and work organization. Where risks cannot be fully avoided, it might help to apply measures directed for supporting the risk groups, or to rehabilitate employees who have already suffered due to work pressure.

Examples about organization-level measures:

  • clear determination of employee’s responsibilities and corresponding authorization;
  • determining clear principles and guidelines for coping with workplace bullying and harassment;
  • transparent personnel politics;
  • enabling a flexible work organization;
  • offering a good physical working environment.

If risks cannot be completely eliminated, for example, due to the nature of the work (night-time work, job that requires much communication, etc.), the stress relief measures should be directed to the risk groups:

  • organizing a training for employees on coping in tense situations;
  • offering a training for middle managers on how to cope with the stress of subordinates and to help them;
  • favouring employees’ healthy lifestyle (e.g. movement habit);
  • creating possibilities for communicating and supporting one another.

Regardless all applied measures, there are always employees who do suffer from occupational stress for some reason. To support these individuals, the employer could:

  • offer the employee some psychological counselling and help;
  • enable a training to improve work-related skills;
  • enable personal work organization and additional support for a certain time period;
  • develop supportive systems to integrate employees back to work who have been absent from work for a longer period of time (e.g., on a sick list).

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