The European Agency for Occupational Health and Safety has recently published a research report on the Management of psychosocial risks in European workplaces: evidence from the Second European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER-2)

One of the main findings is that the education sector is one of the sectors that put a large amount of effort into managing psychosocial risks, in particular by education trade unions. The report indicates the fact of ‘an unfavourable national context’ (e.g. poor OSH management, few financial resources, etc) as one of the main barriers for achieving effective management procedures. It is concluded that a strong economy, good national occupational safety and health initiatives and cultural factors are all associated with higher levels of psychosocial risk management. Indeed, ETUCE advocates for strong social dialogue instruments and trade union representatives in schools to ensure good OSH in education institutions.

ETUCE regrets that this ESENER research study has been conducted without involvement or consultation of education trade unions to follow-up relevant challenges and good practices resulted from the ETUCE/EFEE social dialogue project on Social Partners Promoting decent workplaces in the education sector for a healthier working life.

ETUCE criticizes that the study has no paid sufficient attention to the new and emerging psychosocial risks in education sector (e.g. cybersecurity and ICT-associated risks). In particular that:

  • Teachers and school leaders face great expectations from parents and students, quantitative, emotional and cognitive demands as well as rising demand for teacher commitment, due to an increase in commuting time and the use of e-mails and other on-line systems in the education context.
  • Increasing quantitative demands result in ‘too little time to teach’ as well as in conflicts regarding staff’s work-life balance.
  • Cyber-bullying and harassment conducted through ICTs, including risks on data protection and privacy of teachers and students.

ETUCE observes also that, in the majority of European countries, collegial and cooperative leadership models and the integration of psychosocial risk prevention into schools’ everyday life process and rules for the use of ICT and replying emails for teachers are fundamental.

Psychosocial risk assessments are also needed, including with the cooperation of the municipalities to share their progress on work organisation and innovation with schools. The development of information and stress-management trainings by social partners at both organisational and behavioural level is very helpful to prevent and manage ICT psychosocial risks.

To read the full EU-OSHA ESENER report on new and emerging psychosocial risks, click here.

To read the ETUCE/EFEE Joint Practical Guidelines on How to Promote Joint Social Partner Initiatives at European, National, Regional and Local Level to Prevent and Combat Psychosocial Hazards in Education, click here.