Psycho-social workplace risks high in Ireland

Workplace risksA recent study published by The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) identified that psycho-social risks such as unwanted sexual attention, physical violence and bullying or harassment in the workplace are high in Ireland (ranking 6th highest out of the 34 countries) and other wealthy Western European countries.

Not surprisingly these psycho-social risks are affecting employees’ health and causing mental distress. For example, 50% of those with high exposure to psycho-social risks reported poor health compared to 21% of those with low exposure. There is clearly a need for businesses to be aware of these psycho-social risks and have policies in place to prevent them.

It was also found that workers who are at more risk of psycho-social risks are also more likely to have poorer pay, job security and working conditions. This link suggests that if businesses improve these three factors that this could reduce employee exposure to psycho-social risks.

As food for thought for Irish companies, Dorothy Watson, Associate Research Professor at the ESRI, commented “…we could benefit from looking at health and safety strategies that have been effective elsewhere.”