A survey on occupational health and safety has concluded that job-related stress is a concern for the vast majority of the European workforce.

The views of just over 35,000 workers were surveyed in the 2nd European Opinion Poll on Occupational Safety and Health. 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 with just over half expecting this to ‘increase a lot’.

The survey, carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) asked a series of questions about contemporary workplace issues including job-related stress, and the importance of occupational safety and health for economic competitiveness in the context of longer working lives.

The survey questions echoed the findings of EU-OSHA’s survey on new and emerging workplace risks in the spring of 2009 which found that 79 per cent of managers thought that stress was an issue, making the issue as important as workplace accidents for companies.

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 agency says.

The poll additionally found that a large majority of Europeans (86 per cent) agreed that following good occupational safety and health practices was necessary for a country’s economic competitiveness, with 56 per cent of those surveyed strongly agreeing the statement.

The importance of good occupational health and safety practices to help people work for longer before they retired were recognised by 87 per cent of those surveyed of whom 56 per cent said they were ‘very important’.

The poll was conducted by Ipsos MORI between 24 October 2011 and 17 January 2012 and measured the opinions of 35,540 members of the general public in 36 European countries, aged between 18 and 65.

To access the full report, go to: http://osha.europa.eu/en/safety-health-in-figures/index_html#tabs-2