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Mental Health in Construction Work

Aim and description of the project
The European Commission’s Communication "Safer and Healthier Work for All - Modernisation of the EU Occupational Safety and Health Legislation and Policy” [COM(2017)12] highlighted that over the last 25 years, the EU has been a front-runner in setting high standards of workers protection against health and safety risks at work. This has led to a drop of the incidence rate of fatal accidents and occupational injuries of almost 1/4 as compared with the situation in 2008. In addition, the percentage of EU workers reporting at least one health problem caused or made worse by work also decreased by nearly 10%.

The existing EU legislative framework has played a pivotal role in this, in particular the "Framework” Directive 89/391/EEC, which lays down general principles and introduces measures to encourage improvements in the prevention and protection of workers against occupational accidents and diseases.

In the framework of these positive trends we have identified a number of growing concerns which need to be addressed, one of them being "psychosocial risks”.

Psychosocial risks and work-related stress are among the most challenging – and growing - occupational safety and health concerns. Over half of the EU workers report that stress is common in their workplace and 4 out of 10 consider that the issue is not handled well. In addition, psychosocial risks have a serious impact on productivity. Furthermore, they cover complex and multidimensional issues, caused by a constellation of factors, related and/or unrelated to the workplace.

According to the existing EU legislation employers are obliged to protect workers also from psychosocial risks and these risks have to be duly taken into account in the risk assessment process. In this respect many initiatives and tools exist at national level, ranging from non-binding instruments to regulatory approaches, but a lot still needs to be done, in particular at sectoral level.

This project is undertaken by the EU sectoral social partners for the construction industry, EFBWW (European Federation of Building and Wood Workers) and FIEC (European Construction Industry Federation), co-funded by DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, which addresses the issue of psychosocial risks in a sector that represents nearly 9% of the EU GDP, almost 15 million workers and 3 million companies, the vast majority of them with less than 20 workers. The project aims at getting a better understanding of the overall topic and related EU policies, as well as of existing concepts to address it from a specific sectoral perspective.

This EFBWW-FIEC project facilitates the exchange of best practices and examples between Member States to evaluate working conditions, its evolution and to take measures to reduce psychosocial risks. Moreover, the project aims at providing practitioners at company level a sector specific guide and is therefore directly focusing on the needs at workplace level.
By supporting projects like this one, the European Commission confirms its willingness and consistent commitment to encourage and promote pragmatic initiatives that can provide a real added value to EU citizens, workers and companies.

Co-financing source 
European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Starting / ending date
2016 - April 2019

Final Report


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2019 - Mental Health in construction - Final Report GB
1190 Kb uploaded on 10/09/2019
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