Building upon its previous activities on psychosocial risks, relevant projects on digitalisation and musculoskeletal disorders, EU-OSHA is running a research project (2022-2025) to provide reliable in-depth information on work-related psychosocial risks and mental health at work for policy, prevention, awareness-raising and practice. The activity also links to a parallel activity on the health and social care sector.
This research leads into EU-OSHA’s Healthy Workplaces Campaign 2026-2028 which focuses on mental health and psychosocial risks at work in ‘new and overlooked occupational groups, sectors and areas’.
The work also supports the European Commission’s action on a Comprehensive approach to mental health.
The activity’s objectives are:
- to use existing research and new data to improve understanding of the underlying causes of psychosocial risks and effective prevention practices in various sectors, occupations and groups.
- to identify successful initiatives to prevent and manage work-related psychosocial risks and promote mental health at work among a wide audience.
- to improve knowledge and stimulate discussion on national-level policy and preventive measures among policymakers and occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals.
The research tasks include literature reviews, collecting and analysing data, identifying best practices, case studies, practical tools and awareness-raising materials.
The project includes the following research areas:
Facts and figures on work-related psychosocial risks
We need information on the prevalence and costs of work-related psychosocial risks across Europe to support policymakers at EU and national levels to better target their instruments and actions. This research area includes the results of the ‘EU Flash Eurobarometer – OSH Pulse survey 2022 and ESENER. Separate research pulls together and analyse data from relevant and reliable official sources to improve our understanding of the prevalence and underlying causes of work-related psychosocial risks.
Policy and practice on managing work-related psychosocial risks
This research area explores how different Member States approach the prevention of work-related psychosocial risks, by describing the actions taken by a selection of Member States and identifying the success factors and challenges.
Sectors and diversity / vulnerable groups
Work-related psychosocial risks are of particular concern in some occupations. They have received less attention among some groups of workers who may face specific issues. Research in this area addresses how psychosocial risks impact on certain sectors and occupations and related prevention practices. This includes low socioeconomic status workers, and the construction and agricultural sectors.
Psychosocial risks and health
Psychosocial risks arise from poor work design, organisation and management, as well as a poor social context of work, and they may result in negative psychological, physical and social outcomes. Research in this area covers improving knowledge of psychosocial risks and health.
Violence and harassment
Research in this area covers third-party violence from patients, clients and other members of the public, bullying and harassment in the workplace and links between occupational safety and health and domestic violence.
Return-to-work and supporting a worker with a mental health condition
Research in this area provides good practices on supporting individuals with a work-related or non-work-related mental health condition to stay in work or successful return-to-work following sickness absence.
Guidance and tools
This area provides resources for the management of psychosocial risks.