Job-related stress is a concern for the large majority of the European workforce. Eight in ten of the working population across Europe think that the number of people suffering from job-related stress over the next five years will increase (80%) with as many as 52% expecting this to ‘increase a lot’.

The second European Opinion Poll on Occupational Safety and Health, conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), measured the opinions of over 35,000 members of the general public in 36 European countries on contemporary workplace issues including job-related stress, and the importance of occupational safety and health for economic competitiveness and in the context of longer working lives.

Work-related stress is one of the biggest health and safety challenges faced in Europe, representing a huge cost in terms of human distress and economic performance.

The poll additionally found that the large majority of Europeans (86%) agree that following good occupational safety and health practices is necessary for a country’s economic competitiveness, with 56% strongly agreeing. Views are similar among workers and those who do not work (86% and 85% agree respectively).

“The financial crisis and the changing world of work is making increased demands on workers; therefore it is unsurprising that work-related stress is at the forefront of people’s minds,” said Dr Christa Sedlatschek, Director of EU-OSHA.

“Regardless of age, gender and organisation size an overwhelming majority of people believe that work-related stress will rise. Nonetheless there are interesting national variations in those who expect job-related stress to ‘increase a lot’, with Norwegians least worried (16%), for instance, and Greeks most worried about rising stress (83% ‘increase a lot’).

“Tackling psychosocial risks is a major focus of EU-OSHA’s work to improve the lives of workers across Europe.”