OSHwiki article in the spotlight: Managing psychosocial risks in HORECA
The holiday periods, weekends and evenings are the busiest times for workers in the hotel, restaurant and catering (HORECA) sector. The nature of HORECA work leads to both common and unique psychosocial risks which are examined by Juliet Hassard, Kevin Teoh and Tom Cox from Birkbeck, University of London. This OSHwiki article examines the characteristics of the HORECA sector, the related workplace risks and mentions intervention tactics.
The researchers begin by providing an overview of the HORECA sector which is an important job creator in the EU. Many businesses in this sector are family-run or employ fewer than 10 people and working conditions common to this sector include long hours, shift work and repetitive tasks.
Despite the vast work settings found in this sector (from kitchens to hotel rooms to schools) and range of roles (e.g. chef, cleaner, manager), a set of common psychosocial hazards is identified by the authors. These hazards cover working hours, harassment and customer aggression, job insecurity and poor work-life balance. Linked to the workplace hazards is a set of psychosocial risks that mean workers may have little decision-making in their jobs and are often under pressure to meet customer demands, alongside manager expectations. If not properly managed, these risks can lead to higher cardiovascular disease rates, burnout and high turnover.
The authors conclude with a section on intervention and prevention of HORECA work risks and numerous case studies are referenced as good examples, including the winner of the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards 2014–15, a small family run hotel from Spain.
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