25 February 2016

workplace Depression and cardiovascular disease are just two of the detrimental outcomes associated with psychosocial risks, linked to stress, in the workplace.

As globalisation and technological change create greater demands on the workforce, the prevalence of those risks is increasing, but what can organisations do to help their workforce?

On March 4, Stavroula Leka, Professor of Work, Health & Policy at the University of Nottingham (UK), and Director of the Centre for Organisational Health & Development will talk on psychosocial risk management at a seminar: Psychosocial risk management: Calamity or opportunity? at UniSA’s Magill campus.

“Psychosocial risks are aspects of work organization, design and management that have the potential of causing harm to employee health, safety and well-being and of negatively affecting organizational performance and societal prosperity,” Professor Leka says.

“They are closely linked to the experience of work-related stress and include issues such as work demands, support at work, employee participation, rewards, and interpersonal relationships (including harassment and bullying) in the workplace.”

“This presentation will consider both the impact of psychosocial risks and the action framework so far implemented to address them, highlighting examples across the world. It will discuss differences across countries and highlight priorities to be addressed, showcasing successes and good practice examples.”

Professor Leka points to development of national and regional surveys (e.g., the European Working Conditions Survey and the Australian Workplace Barometer) as examples of ways to help monitor and tackle psychosocial risks and promote mental health in the workplace.

Professor Maureen Dollard, Director and Head of the Asia Pacific Centre for Work Health and Safety (which was designated a World Health Organisation collaborating centre in occupational health in 2015), helped establish a national surveillance system of psychosocial (stress) factors at work, through the Australian Workplace Barometer, and the StressCafé.

“The Australian Workplace Barometer (AWB) is the nation’s leading workplace psychosocial surveillance, and provides representative longitudinal population-based data on work-related issues across states and territories, and industries,” Professor Dollard says.

“The AWB seeks to provide best-practice evidence for national, state, organisational, or industry initiatives targeted at protecting worker health, particularly psychological health.

“The value of the Centre being designated a WHO collaborating centre is that it can contribute to a global plan of action to reduce psychosocial risks across countries including the Asia Pacific region.

“This is a global issue, affecting workplaces around the world, so the collaborative work with Prof Leka’s work centre will help to connect the work of Australian researchers at an international policy level.”


Media contact: Will Venn office +61 883020096 mob 0401 366 054 email will.venn@unisa.edu.au 

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