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Reducing stress – developing potentials

Information about the Work Programme "Psyche" of the Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy

Stress, burn-out, depression: The increase of early retirements and days lost to incapacity for work attributable to mental stress is alarming. In addition, in many places there is a lack of knowledge about the correct prevention options. This is where the GDA work programme "Psyche" comes into play. Its slogan: "Stress reduzieren - Potenziale entwickeln" (literally: "Reducing stress – developing potentials"). The aim is to see that the workplace stakeholders are fully informed and qualified, including entrepreneurs, managers, staff representatives and those responsible for occupational health and safety.

Overview of the work programme

  • Internet portal gda-psyche.de: Here employers and employees find all important information on the subject of psychological strains at work. For example, under the heading "Work and Psyche from A to Z", it explains the various factors affecting the well-being of employees and what companies can change.
  • Recommendations for implementing psychosocial risk assessment: Since the end of 2013 the Safety and Health at Work Act explicitly calls for the consideration of psychological stress in risk assessments. In seven steps, a new brochure (see box on the right) explains the risk assessment of psychological strain, its methods and tools. Parameters are described within which the actual implementation of risk assessment is to move. The brochure is aimed particularly at companies and occupational safety actors (e.g. employers, works and staff councils, company physicians and specialists for occupational safety).
  • Practical tools for the workplace: The work programme collects examples of good practice for dealing with psychological stress in the workplace and makes them known to the public. Companies, workers and occupational safety and health experts receive practical support for the improvement of working conditions in everyday business.
  • Qualification of inspectors: Inspectors from occupational health and safety authorities and accident insurance institutions are trained to identify mental stress and to adequately advise companies.

    Illustration of a man  juggling with balls, displayed under a magnifying glass Source: Birte Cordes/GDA Psyche

    By the end of 2017, the entire inspection staff will have a basic knowledge about psychological stress.
  • Inspections and advice: Since the beginning of 2015, the inspection staff of the occupational safety and health authorities and accident insurers conducts coordinated inspections. The focus of the site inspections is the consideration of psychological stress in the risk assessment. The inspectors also advise businesses specifically on setting up working hours so as to promote health and on dealing with traumatic events in the workplace.