ILO calls for increased awareness and a collective effort regarding workplace stress

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is celebrated on 28 April 2016 with the theme “Workplace stress: a collective challenge”. A new ILO report on the subject highlights the need to recognize the prevalence of psychosocial hazards at the workplace caused by stress and to step up the collective efforts to limit the impact of these hazards

Press release | 27 April 2016

The objective of this year’s World Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Day, which is celebrated in Turkey for the second time, is to increase the attention given to work-related stress and the magnitude of this problem in the working life.

A new ILO report “Workplace stress - a collective challenge,”points to the need to increase the general awareness of the problem, to address this issue more comprehensively in legislation and in policies and to devote more attention to the collection of relevant data.

Workplace stress result from psychosocial factors at the workplace and is caused by an imbalance between demands made on persons and the resources they have available to cope with those demands. While the impact of stress varies from person to person, it can result in both health impairments such as cardiovascular diseases, burnout and depression, and in coping behaviours such as increased cigarette smoking, unhealthy diet and sleeping disorders.

Reliable and comparable data is hard to come by, but data from Europe indicate that in 2009 on average 22 % of the workforce was under stress, and that 50-60% of all lost working days were caused by work-related stress (2009 EU Risk Observatory Report).The trend is that this problem is increasing.

Making a statement to celebrate the World Day for OSH, the Director of the ILO Office in Turkey, Numan Özcan, highlighted that “Work-related stress is unfortunately an all too frequent reality in our daily working life. It impacts on productivity, mainly by causing increased absenteeism (too much absences from work) as well as presenteeism (too much work outside working hours), by reducing staff motivation, satisfaction and commitments and by increasing the staff turnover. We all need to develop methods to deal with it”.

It is significant, however, that according to the First European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER Report) 80 % of managers were concerned by psychosocial risks, but at the same time less than 33 % had procedures to deal with them.

This year’s ILO report also underscores the need for a collective effort by governments, employers and workers and their representatives to include the management of psychosocial risks in national OSH policies, to include psychosocial risks among other risks to be assessed at the workplace and to include mental and behavioural disorders on lists of occupational diseases.

Furthermore, it is essential to ensure that workers are given an effective voice at workplaces to enable them to articulate their concerns, and that the establishment of social support systems for workers at the workplace is encouraged. Progress towards more formally binding regulatory standards can be enhanced by developing voluntary guidance material by for example by labour inspectorates, trade unions or enterprises.
This year, the ILO Office for Turkey will be celebrating the World OSH Day 2016 in Izmir in the context of an OSH symposium organized by the İzmir Economy University.

The trade union movement have commemorated the dead and injured workers of victims of occupational accidents and diseases on this day of 28 April since 1996. The ILO became involved in this campaign in 2003 by recognizing this day both as a day for commemoration and for celebration by organizing annual thematic campaigns for the prevention of injuries and fatalities.

For more information please visit:

World Day for Safety and Health at Work
İzmir Economy University, Occupational Safety and Health Symposium</