- lots of demands (on their minds and/or bodies),
- little or no control or say in what they do and how they do it,
- little or no support from “bosses”, unions or co-workers, and
- lack of respect.
That means it’s not those in charge of workplaces who usually are “stressed out”. It’s those who collect our garbage and recycling, build our vehicles, answer office phones and check out our groceries. The work organisation hazards or stressors they face take a toll on bodies and minds, and hazards to the mind become hazards to the body, showing up in physical symptoms. (Others, like the CSA Standard Z1003-13 – Psychological health and safety in the workplace – Prevention, promotion, and guidance to staged implementation, talk about psychosocial hazards.)
Hazards such as violence, harassment and bullying are stressors that came up in different ways. So too did disrespect, long hours of work and
They then mapped the stressors on a physical map to get an overview and better set priorities for needed changes.
They require organisational changes, like those referred to in the innovative StressAssess and Mental Injury Toolkit, based on the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ), which is available in 25 languages.
For more details, check out the resources listed below.
“Popular” materials for workers and organisations
- for individual and organisational assessments/surveys — and solutions — see the Mental Injury Toolkit (with its app) and StressAssess from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) — with a very helpful “wizard” to take you through the individual or organisational versions of StressAssess
- also check out the presentation about the OHCOW tools that John Oudyk made at the COSOQ 7 meeting and my presentation about them
- articles and more via the U.K. Hazards group, with links to European and North American sources
Enough workplace stress: Organizing for change, from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), with surveys and solutions
- Workplace anti-stress guide, designed for health care workplaces by a Canadian union, the Hospital Employees Union (HEU)
- Jeffrey Pfeffer’s 2018 book, Dying for a paycheck: How modern managment harms employee health and company performance — and what we can do about it, described in the article Your boss is working you to death.
- managing “psychosocial” hazards booklet, developed in the SOBANE (Screening, Observation, Analysis, Expertise) method by Jacques Malchaire, and used in Belgium and other European sites
- the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) page that is regularly updated and links to news, reports and presentations, including news about burn-out being recognised as a job-related hazard
- materials from the European Union’s Agency for Safety & Health at Work
- CSA Standard Z1003-13 – Psychological health and safety in the workplace – Prevention, promotion, and guidance to staged implementation — although the standard’s survey does not lead to much organisational action and the questions do not lead to categories that help organisations, unions, individuals or researchers figure out what’s going on
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) materials about work organisation, including the very useful booklet, Stress at work
Resources with more of an academic bent
- Work re-organisation — A hazard to workers’ health and safety. What is to be done? presentation at the NIOSH/APA Work & Stress conference, 2011
- Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) international network, which the MIT and StressAssess use
- Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ), developed by Robert Karasek and others (also known as the demand-control-support approach to stress)
- Center for Social Epidemiology’s Unhealthy Work activities, including the film project Working on Empty, focused on the United States
- Wayne Lewchuk’s adaptation of the demand-control-support approach to precarious and temporary jobs
- Effort-reward-imbalance theory, developed by Johannes Siegrist
- Job Demands-Resources model, developed by Bakker and Demerouti