In Germany, the Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to carry out a risk management that takes account of psychosocial factors. In a research and development project, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) investigated how companies can approach this in practice. On the one hand, this was achieved by researching examples of “good practice” and carrying out in-company case studies. On the other, numerous interviews and expert talks were held with experts from the worlds of science, politics and practice. The project’s results were published in a textbook in autumn 2013 (http://www.ESV.info/978-3-503-15439-5).
One key finding was that, when it comes to implementing psychosocial risk management, there is no one standard solution that can be recommended equally to all companies. For example, psychosocial factors can be recorded effectively through worker surveys, through on-site workplace observations and/or in workshops involving employees and managers. Which method or combination of methods is to be chosen in the specific case can only sensibly be decided by considering the specific circumstances, experiences and competences present in the company. This presents an opportunity for companies, but also a challenge for the planning and organisation of risk management.
Furthermore, it became clear that a successful analysis of psychosocial risks is only “half the story” and in no way guarantees successful implementation of a risk management: if a requirement for organisation was identified, corresponding measures must be developed and implemented. In practice, this is no less demanding than the analysis itself and must be planned and prepared with equal care. This step becomes harder, for example, if hazards are not identified with sufficient accuracy or if conditional and causal relationships are not clarified. At this point, the process can quickly get out of hand if too many fields of activity and proposed measures are processed at once, or if employees and managers were not involved at an early stage.