Launch of the “Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2014-2015” by The European Commission

Launch of the “Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2014-2015” by The European Commission

On 7 April 2014 Laszlo Andor commissioner for Employment Social Affairs and Inclusion for The European Commission gave a speech announcing the launch of the Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2014-2015.

The campaigns theme is ‘Managing Stress and psychosocial risks at Work’.

In my opinion this is a real turning point as not just employers in the UK but across Europe at starting to realise the immense affect stress can have on the workplace.

Mr Andor stated in his speech that Stress is the second most frequent work related health problem and that it was estimated that stress causes more than half of all lost working days each year.

Interesting Mr Andor acknowledged that stress has a much broader affect on individuals than psychological disorders. Mr Andor acknowledged that long term stress can cause cardiovascular and musculoskeletal disorders as well as causing a drop in concentration which can lead to a greater number of accidents in the workplace.

Mr Andor made it clear that addressing work related stress was one of the main focuses of the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020 which is due to be presented in June 2014.

I am pleased to report that there was a clear acknowledgement by Mr Andor that stress can and should be managed in the same way as other occupational risks. This is welcome news as I still believe that there is a certain degree of stigma attached to psychological illness with many employers not fully understanding or accepting when employees are complaining of stress as a result of work.

It is all to easy for an employer to see when an employee has a physical ailment but because psychological injuries cannot be seen it makes it harder for employers to accept these complaints as legitimate.

Mr Andor stressed that improving protection for the mental health of workers working in the EU was a key goal and that this will have a long term benefit on the economy as managing work related stress will result in business being more productive and having lower operating costs.

It remains to be seen what long term affect these initiatives will have in Great Britain if any.

If you believe that you have suffered psychological illness as a result of stress at work please feel free to call us on 0844 499 9302 or email stress@michaellewin.co.uk.

Richard Coulthard

Head of The Stress At Work Department

Michael Lewin Solicitors

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