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Enterprise survey on new and emerging risks (ESENER)

ESENER examines how health and safety is managed in practice in European workplaces. The survey includes a focus on management of psychosocial risks, on the drivers and barriers to action and on how workers are involved in the management of health and safety at work.

About the survey

The European survey of enterprises on new and emerging risks helps fill an important information gap in the world of health and safety at work. Data on work-related accidents and ill-health are available through workers’ surveys and through reporting systems, but little is known about the way in which health and safety risks are managed in practice; particularly those that are ‘new and emerging’, such as work-related stress, violence and harassment.

ESENER involved nearly 36,000 interviews with managers and health and safety representatives in 2009. The survey covered private and public sector establishments with ten or more employees in the 27 EU Member States, as well as Croatia, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland. To this end it provides policy makers with cross-nationally comparable information relevant for the design and implementation of new policies in this field.

The different sections of the survey explore:

Management of health and safety

  • Preventive measures taken, such as the extent of risk assessment
  • Management commitment to health and safety
  • Sources of expertise, advice or information
  • The main concerns in terms of occupational safety and health

Management of ‘new’ psychosocial risks

  • Main concerns regarding work-related stress, violence and bullying and harassment
  • Perceived causes of psychosocial risks
  • Measures taken to manage the risks
  • Formal procedures in place to prevent psychosocial risks

Drivers and barriers - what motivates managers to take action and what are the main obstacles?

  • Main reasons for addressing health and safety and for addressing psychosocial risks
  • Main difficulties in dealing with health and safety and with psychosocial risks

Worker participation: what arrangements are in place and what effect does it have?

  • Characteristics of ‘formal’ representation (through an elected representative or body)
  • Characteristics of ‘direct’ participation (where there is no representative)
  • The impact of worker participation on the management of health and safety
  • Resources available to representative

Results and publications

First results and analysis

The following reports present the main findings from ESENER based on bivariate analysis of the data.

Secondary analyses

In order to exploit the data more fully, a number of studies have been carried out, or are underway, that involve in-depth statistical analysis.

View and download all ESENER presentations


View the results in the mapping tool


The mapping tool presents results from 29 of the 45 'content' questions in the management survey (questions that had multiple response options are listed separately in the drop-down menu), in a visual and interactive way.

If you would like to see all of the questions that were asked in both the management and health and safety representative surveys, you can download the questionnaires. Further analyses and results are available in the reports.

The mapping tool only includes questions that were asked to all respondents in the managers’ survey as these are the ones for which results can be compared directly between countries. The mapping tool does not show results from questions that require more analysis before they can be compared:

  • 'Filtered questions', which are only asked if a particular answer is given in a preceding question
  • Questions from the health and safety representatives' surveys, which could only be carried out in a subset of the establishments


Launch the mapping tool (will open in a new window)


Universe and unit of analysis

The statistical population comprises all establishments that have ten or more employees in the 31 participating countries, covering all sectors of economic activity except for agriculture, forestry and fishing (NACE A), households (NACE T) and extraterritorial organisations (NACE U). The relevant statistical unit of analysis is the establishment, defined as comprising the activities of a single employer at a single set of premises (e.g. a single branch of a bank, a car factory or a school).

The 31 participating countries comprise all 27 European Member States, as well as two Candidate Countries (Croatia and Turkey), and two EFTA countries (Norway and Switzerland).



In each establishment surveyed, the highest-ranking manager responsible for health and safety at work is interviewed. Additionally, an interview with the workers' health and safety representative is carried out in those establishments where a management interview has been completed; there exists a formally designated representative with specific responsibility for the safety and health of workers; and permission for the interview has been granted by the management respondent.


Sampling strategy

In order to ensure that the survey results are cross-nationally comparable, it is essential that the sampling strategy result in the same type of units being surveyed in each country. The quality of the available address registers varies across the participating countries in terms of coverage (especially the sectors of activity included) and in terms of the availability and accuracy of the necessary background information (such as the sector of activity and number of employees). Existing address registers are not cross-nationally comparable, therefore considerable efforts have been made to build samples that provide the necessary quality and ensure cross-national comparability. This work has been carried out in collaboration with the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound).

Stratification of the sample is based on a matrix of two groups of sectors ("Producing Industries" and "Service Sector") and five size classes (10-19 employees, 20-49, 50-199, 200-499, and 500+ employees) and follows the sampling strategy used by Eurofound in its establishment surveys.


Questionnaire development

Two English language master versions (management representative questionnaire and worker representative questionnaire) were developed by a team comprising experts in survey design and in occupational safety and health (particularly psychosocial risks), together with EU-OSHA staff. In addition, a tripartite Advisory Group comprising members of EU-OSHA's Governing Board and Bureau played an important role in identifying useful questions from the perspective of the Agency's stakeholders. 

As part of the development process, draft questionnaires were translated for a qualitative pilot in UK, Netherlands and Germany. Subsequently, an extensive quantitative pilot was carried out, involving management interviews and employee representative interviews in each of eight countries (Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Finland and United Kingdom).



Different national versions of the questionnaire have been developed for each of the countries covered by the survey (access the questionnaires in this table). These take account not only of the languages spoken in each country, but also of work-related practices such as worker representation or labour inspection, which require different questions and terminology.

An optimal translation strategy is essential to ensure that each national version of the questionnaire comprises high-quality questions that can be directed plausibly at all types of enterprise within the country concerned and generates information that can be compared cross-nationally.

The basic steps included in the translation strategy adopted by ESENER are:

  1. A first high-quality translation of the English language master questionnaire into each destination language by translators who are native speakers of the target language
  2. Checking of the translations by the national fieldwork institutes and adaptation to specific country versions where the language is used by several countries (e.g. Austrian, German, Luxembourgish and Swiss versions of the German language questionnaire)

  3. Checking of the national versions by native-language occupational safety and health experts

  4. Back-translation of national language versions into English by different translators and independent cross-checking with the English language master version.

Additionally, the national versions are checked by EU-OSHA's Focal Points and the Survey Expert Group to ensure that the terminology and questions are appropriate for that country's work-related practices.

Sampling and questionnaire language versions

Geographical name
Sample size
Interview languages
Czech Republic
United Kingdom




Tender specifications

EU-OSHA published tender specifications to carry out the ESENER survey as part of an open call on 21st August 2007.

Support letter

Letters setting out the background and aims of the survey and the support from social partners were produced in all survey languages with the aim encouraging interviewees who were undecided whether to participate in the survey.


Project team

Download project team sheet

  Technical reports

European Survey on New and Emerging Risks - Psychosocial Risks (ESENER-PSR 2009) - Technical Report

Ex-post evaluation of the European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks 

ESENER Sampling Report 2009

Further information for researchers

The full ESENER dataset is accessible via the UK Data Archive (UKDA) of the University of Essex at To access data files, users are first required to register with UKDA. Information on the registration procedure is available at For any query about registration or data access, please contact

The archive also provides access to survey documentation and guidance for data users. Users are recommended to read supplementary supporting documentation on the methodology provided on this web site before working with the data. Terms and conditions for the use of data are available at

Please note that all works which use or refer to ESENER should acknowledge its source by means of bibliographic citation in footnotes or in the reference section of publications. Similarly, any publication, whether printed, electronic, or broadcast, based wholly or partly on ESENER should acknowledge the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and the UK Data Archive. It should also carry a statement that EU-OSHA and the UK Data Archive bear no responsibility for their further analysis or interpretation.


Upcoming survey

The next edition of ESENER will be carried out in 2014. The call for tender for ESENER-2 was published on 5 December 2012 at:

A significant proportion of the questions from the first edition will be maintained in order to enable time-series analysis but, following the qualitative evaluation, the secondary analyses and feedback given at stakeholder presentations, a number of changes are planned:

  • Inclusion of question related to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), workplace organisation of OSH management and the establishments’ approach to worker involvement.
  • Given the importance of micro-enterprises, coverage of establishments employing five or more workers, including those in the agriculture sector.
  • Increased sample size to allow analysis by more sectors or groups of sectors.
  • The survey will include the EU-28, two EEA states (Norway and Iceland) and Albania, FYROM, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Switzerland.
  • Definition of a new, single target respondent implying only one interview per establishment rather than two. 
  • More rigorous testing, translation and piloting of master and national versions of the questionnaire.
  • Improvements in the quality of sampling and fieldwork.

Estimated timetable

Information for respondents

 Albania austria.gif Austria belgium.gif  Belgium NL - FR
bulgaria.gif  Bulgaria  Croatia cyprus.gif  Cyprus
czechrepublic.gif  Czech Republic denmark.gif  Denmark estonia.gif   Estonia EE - RU
finland.gif  Finland FI - SV france.gif  France germany.gif  Germany
greece.gif  Greece hungary.gif  Hungary iceland flag  Iceland
ireland.gif  Ireland italy flag  Italy latvia.gif  Latvia LV - RU
lithuania_large.gif  Lithuania LT - RU luxembourg.gif  Luxembourg DE - FR - LU  FYROM AL - MK
malta.gif  Malta EN - MT  Montenegro norway flag  Norway
poland.gif  Poland portugal.gif  Portugal romania.gif  Romania
 Serbia slovakia.gif  Slovakia slovenia.gif  Slovenia
spain.gif  Spain sweden.gif  Sweden switzerland Switzerland DE - FR - IT
netherlands.gif  The Netherlands  Turkey unitedkingdom.gif  United Kingdom


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