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ILO/WHO and Australian unions begin initiatives on PSR

Worker’s mental health in a global spotlight.


Worker's mental health has been placed firmly on the international agenda this month, with a number of initiatives aimed at improving the situation facing workers being both announced and advanced.

Firstly, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) have issued a joint policy paper, focusing on good practice on mental health in work. Outlining the necessity of action to curb an issue that affects millions worldwide each year, the ILO and WHO note that “improving mental health at work requires action to prevent work-related mental health conditions, to protect and promote mental health at work, and to support all workers to participate in work fully and equitably”. The policy paper centres on the importance of prevention through organisational psychosocial risk management, protecting and promoting mental health at work through upskilling and training, ensuring that return to work programmes and other initiatives support workers sufficiently and through various actions, creating an enabling environment for those in the workplace. We will continue to push for these measures to be taken through a collective approach. As we have seen through decades of failed initiatives, the individual approach to PSR has not curbed the rise of the problem. More information can be found through Hazards magazine, who have also recently reported on Eurocadres’ EndStress campaign!

As two significant global actors in workplace safety, the joint paper from the ILO and WHO is yet another initiative that keeps work-related psychosocial risks high on the political agenda. This resource must be used to promote a collective approach to PSR issues.

– “It is hugely encouraging to see such important institutions sending a clear message: We must act to protect workers mental health. Coupled with the excellent efforts of our Australian colleagues, we can see a growing global consensus that something must be done, and trade unions must be a major player in initiating change.

With new research strengthening our position, the EndStress platform will continue to push for European legislation to address this health epidemic” - Nayla Glaise

Two fantastic resources on work-related psychosocial risks have also been published by our colleagues in the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Through their “Mind your Head” campaign, ACTU have developed a guidance booklet, which shows the risks of psychosocial issues and how to avoid them. They have also published a checklist to help trade unionists conduct risk assessments in their workplace, a terrific tool that can be used by us all to monitor and evaluate our exposure to PSR in the workplace, and, more importantly, help prevent exposure to these risks. You can sign up to the “Mind your Head” campaign to receive updates here.

This week our EndStress campaign also hosted one of our largest platform meetings to date, with renewed momentum from research which is to be published in October. Following our work before the summer break, the push for a European directive on work-related psychosocial risks continues growing.