Difficult customers are the biggest risk – according to an EU-OSHA survey

Difficult customers, patients and pupils, working in repetitive, tiring & painful positions are the most common risk factors throughout Europe’s workforce, according to a survey published by EU-OSHA recently. The survey examines how occupational health & safety is managed in European workforce.

The survey was done on 667.000 enterprises, who have more than 183 million workers in 36 European countries, from which 28 of them are EU member states. The main purpose of the survey and report was to find the factors that encourage the enterprises to implement OSH measures and also those that discourage action.

The top risk factors found at workplace in the EU member states were:

  • Having to deal with difficult customers/ patients/ pupils (58%)
  • Tiring or painful positions (56%)
  • Repetitive hand/ arm movements (52%)

Other risk factors mentioned in the report are hand tools & machines, lifting people & heavy loads, time pressures and vehicle movements.

Risk assessments were carried out in 76% of establishments across the member states. In Ireland the figure was just under the EU28 average with over 70%.

The survey found that the establishments were way more likely to have policies in place to deal with bullying, harassment and violence than to prevent the stress caused by work. In Ireland, 93% of workplaces had policies to deal with bullying.

An overview of the report could be best described as – ‘’size matters’’. The clear message is that the larger the company, the better the OSH measures are implemented. There are some discrepancies related to different countries.