Víctor Perramón – Socio Figueras Legal
A recent study by the European Commission states that “more than half of EU workers report that stress is common in their workplace”.
When a business organisation commissions a Regulatory Compliance programme, there are several main areas of concern that are likely to cause economic and/or reputational damage to the company, and by extension, to the person in charge of its administration. The professionals who advise in this area inevitably focus on risks such as avoiding accidents at work, as they happen more frequently than is desirable, unfortunately, and generally cause economic damage to the company. There may have been a failure to implement appropriate safety measures, to qualify and train employees to perform tasks that could be considered dangerous.
A highly advisable preliminary step is to work not only on the protection of people’s physical health, but also to focus on “psychosocial risks”, which, if not properly controlled, tend to create unwanted situations of tension that can lead to considerable stress. There are various tools that are usually implemented from the departments of REGULATORY COMPLIANCE, such as the publication of a Code of Ethics that already prohibits certain behaviours and that obliges on paper to a correct conduct, but we understand that it may not be enough, among other things because certain habits such as unedifying working environments or too long working hours are still appreciated in certain organisations. In short, times are changing, and companies must adapt to new social realities, one of them being to focus attention on psychology as a source of possible illnesses, sometimes serious ones.
I believe that nobody today doubts that a happy and motivated worker is much more efficient and resolute. Well, last April, the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate (ITSS) issued a Technical Criteria (104/2021) on ACTIONS OF THE LABOUR AND SOCIAL SECURITY INSPECTION IN PSYCHOSOCIAL RISKS, which is divided into 3 possible inspection phases:
Phase 1.- This refers to control actions on the preventive management of psychosocial risks, and this is where the Regulatory Compliance department can help to systematise these risks. Annex IV sets out examples of specific measures regarding workload and pace of work, external or third party violence, bullying and harassment, and other psychosocial risks such as work content, time, autonomy, organisational culture, interpersonal relationships, environments and equipment, age management.
Phase 2.- This refers to the protection of workers from exposure to psychosocial risks. It sets out typical situations (work-related stress, burnout) and the actions to be taken to deal with them.
Phase 3.- It deals with inspection actions in cases where the worker’s health has been damaged by exposure to psychosocial risks. Health disorders can be emotional, cognitive, physiological and behavioural, and are well defined in the Technical Criteria.
At Figueras Legal, we consider it highly advisable to study and, if possible, follow the aforementioned Instruction, as it is technically rigorous in all its aspects.