Managing Psychosocial Hazards and Work-Related Stress in Today’s Work Environment
International Insights for U.S. Organizations
Today’s evolving world of work makes it imperative for employers to manage psychosocial hazards (PSH) and risks leading to work-related stress. This book contains essential, general, and country-specific information and templates for the successful management of hazards to prevent psychological harm in the workplace.
Acknowledged as global issues affecting all workers and industries, PSH are work factors that have the potential to lead to physical or psychological injury and stress, relating to how work is designed, organized, and managed, and to work relationships and interactions. This book advances the idea that management of PSH, and psychological health and safety, is part of the duty of care of today’s responsible and ethical employers to employees, and that U.S. employers should recognize this responsibility. Clear and easy to follow, this guide presents comprehensive information on addressing PSH, discussing measures taken internationally (laws, guidance, and resources from Europe, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Japan), and a new global standard on psychological health and safety at work. (Note: At times within this book, and Part II in particular, punctuation may be added to quoted provisions for ease of reading and for consistency.)
Practitioners and students in the fields of management, occupational health and safety, human resource management, ethics and compliance, occupational health psychology, and organizational psychology will come away with a deeper understanding of the importance of PSH and their management.
Table of Contents
Part One: Work-Related Stress, Psychosocial Hazards, and the U.S. Workplace 1.Today's World of Work: Work-related Stress and Psychosocial Hazards 2. Psychosocial Hazard Specifics 3. Why Psychosocial Environment Matters 4. Occupational Health and Safety Basics and Today’s Evolving Framework and Scope 5. U.S.: More Progress on Psychosocial Hazards Necessary Part Two- International Insights and Examples 6. Management of Psychosocial Hazards in Europe 7. Nordic Countries and Belgium: Psychosocial Hazards as an Umbrella Term 8.Work-Life Balance 9. The United Kingdom: Measures to Address Work-related Stress UK Management Standards 10. Mexico Mandates Protection from Workplace Psychosocial Risks 11. Canada: National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace 12. Australia’s Noteworthy Steps to Address Psychological Health and Safety at Work 13. Long Working Hours and Psychosocial Stress Check Screening 14. Global Standard on Psychological Health and Safety at Work 15. Developing Countries and International Conventions Part Three: Suggested Organizational Shifts to Manage Psychosocial Hazards in the US Workplace 16. Organizational Readiness: Organizational Readiness: Policies, Planning, and Training 17. Organizational Responsibility versus Workplace Well-being 18. Managing Psychosocial Hazards as Part of an Occupational Health and Safety Management System 19. Culture and Climate: Whose Voice Gets Heard 20. Covid-19: Raising the Bar for Organizational Involvement 21. Human Sustainability and the Ethical Workplace 22. Envisioning the Modern Work Environment Recommended Resources Annex -Templates for Managing Psychosocial Hazards and Stress
Ellen Pinkos Cobb is an attorney, author, and subject matter expert on international workplace bullying and harassment laws, with many years of experience working in the international occupational health and safety and U.S. employment discrimination areas. This book is her third with Routledge; she has previously published International Sexual Harassment Laws for the Multinational Employer (2020) and Workplace Bullying and Harassment: New Developments in International Law (2017). Much of this book was written as a 2020-2021 Visiting Researcher at Bentley University's Hoffman Center for Business Ethics.
"This is a chronicle of possibilities for U.S. workers and employers. Cobb's encyclopedic roadmap makes crystal clear what can and should be done. There's an international research-driven explosion of laws, codes, ordinances, and guides screaming that attention be paid to harmful PSH - psychosocial hazards in workplaces. Numerous Occupational Health and Safety agencies and professionals around the world advocate for inclusion of workers' psychological health in the list of employers' responsibilities, an expansion of the duty of care as currently practiced in the U.S. Rather than targeting workers for fixing, the book details that much of the rest of the world focuses on how to identify and mitigate work environment problems that create psychological injuries to workers.
This wonderful book throws down the gauntlet to challenge the U.S. to follow the paths of Nordic countries, Ireland, Spain, the UK, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Japan, and developing countries who have implemented ILO and ISO guidelines. The most innovative advances are attention to loneliness (UK), making return to work safer (South Australia), death from overwork (Japan), and a requisite disconnection from work outside work hours as enforced in several nations. Solutions do exist to take on the scourge of psychosocial hazards that are ignored in the U.S. Will employers here voluntarily redesign work, in response to the pandemic, to align themselves with their international counterparts? This book refutes the proffered excuse that they could not know what to do."
—Gary Namie, PhD., Co-founder & Director, Workplace Bullying Institute
"This is an incredibly rich primer for US organizations about the nature and seriousness of psychosocial hazards as a major occupational health and safety risk. Written in clear and accessible language, Cobb makes the case for the elevation of psychosocial hazards as an even more powerful driver than physical hazards of work-related stress and the impact on employee and thus organizational health and well-being. Grounded in an examination of prevention and mitigation approaches of a number of countries, Cobb identifies specific steps that US companies can and should take to help their employees and thus, their organizations thrive."
—Loraleigh Keashly Ph.D., Professor, Communication; Associate Dean, Curricular & Student Affairs, College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts; Distinguished Service Professor, Wayne State University
"Ellen Pinkos Cobb has built on her global comprehension of employment law and policy to offer a smart analysis of psychosocial hazards in the modern American workplace and how to respond to them. This welcomed framing of health, mistreatment, and stress at work ultimately prevails upon U.S. employers to embrace a fuller duty of care for their workers. Especially when one adds COVID to the "pre-existing conditions" confronting the world of work, this book arrives at an opportune time."
—David C. Yamada, Professor of Law and Director, New Workplace Institute, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, MA
"A new book on workplace psychological hazards and laws has been published. The book is ‘Managing Psychosocial Hazards and Work-Related Stress in Today’s Work Environment – International Insights for US Organizations’ written by Ellen Pinkos Cobb…Many occupational health and safety-related books written in the United States suffer from American parochialism. Cobb’s book is written for US organisations to show what workplace health and safety achievements are possible. The book is a very good summary of international changes in workplace psychosocial hazards.
Part 2 of the book contains international insights and examples. This is the research ‘meat’ of the book, showing what other countries are doing about the hazard. Cobb is writing for the US readership, and this section of the book could be revelatory to the open-minded US reader.
Part 3 includes suggestions for the US to change…The prevention of psychosocial harm in workplaces is a work in progress. Some nations are more progressive than others, and Cobb’s book describes this situation well. The biggest impediment to progress on this hazard in Australia, as in the US, is the lack of political or organisational will to change.
Although it is published by a largely academic publisher, the book deserves a broader US readership as it shows how the world of work in many other Westernised countries, some in security and trade pacts with the US, have jumped past the US on OHS and psychosocial health."
—Kevin Jones, OHS Consultant and Freelance Writer, Editor of the SafetyAtWorkBlog, Australia