More EU legislation……this time its Stress!

Manufacturers have given a firm thumbs-down to proposed European rules requiring that stress and other psychosocial risks be considered as part of risk assessments for musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s).

A survey of 200 companies, carried out by EEF, has revealed considerable distaste for more health &safety legislation, but a strong appetite for case-study guidance to control risk.

Respondents were asked about the EU legislation proposal relating to MSDs ; while various other directives (Manual Handling & Display Screen Equipment Directives) , currently cover the prevention of MSDs, the planned Musculoskeletal Disorders Directive attempts to simplify the law in this area by addressing all significant ergonomic risk factors at work in a single directive. It also proposes that psycho-social factors, such as stress and work pressure, be considered in risk assessments.

Just over a quarter of respondents said they already include psycho-social factors in their risk assessments. Asked if this should be made a legal requirement, however, nearly three-quarters disagreed.

In the UK, companies have a general legal duty to protect workers’ health, and the HSE expects organisations to consider work-related stress, or ‘wellness’ as part of a suitable and sufficient risk-assessment process.

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