Psycho-social risks: the things you need to know !

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Psycho-social risks: from tiredness to lack of concentration, including irritation, stress and lack of sleep, some employees show signs of symptoms that they sometimes do not know where they come from !

People sitting around a table for a reunion about psyshosocial risks


Psycho-social risks represent the elements that affect the physical and mental health of employees within their professional environment. Being able to hide in many forms, namely stress or violence at work, they spare no sector of activity.

But what is it really about?

What are the psycho-social risks ?

The National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) defines PSR as the combination of a large number of variables at the intersection of the individual, collective and organizational dimensions of the professional activity, hence the difficulty in getting their hands on it.

Several types of PSR can be distinguished:

  • Stress from a feeling of helplessness because of the goals they have to achieve
  • Stress from work environment constraints
  • Violence by people inside or outside the company (moral as well as sexual)
  • Professional exhaustion

What are the main factors of RPS ?

The main factors of PSR are multiple and must be known for protection measure. These factors are:

Work requirements :
  • High deadlines and goals or lacking of clarity
  • Overloading professional tasks
  • Intense schedules
  • Lack of autonomy: little room for maneuver to carry out tasks, work pace constraint, impression of underutilization of the worker’s skills
The emotional demands :
  • Lack of contact between superiors and employees
  • Lack of contact and communication between employees
  • Concealing emotions for fear of peoples reproach
  • Physical or verbal violence

Consequences and risks of PSR in a professional environment :

Prolonged exposure to these different factors will have two types of consequences :

An impact on health:

Depending on the time of exposure to factors of the PSR but also according to each employees and their personal or professional history we can find things like :

  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Cardiovascular illnesses
  • Health problems (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, suicidal tendencies)
  • Aggravation or relapse of chronic diseases
An impact on the company :

The company will also be affected by the appearance of the PSR among its employees. We will be able to observe:

  • An increase in absenteeism
  • High staff turnover rate
  • Failure to respect schedules or quality requirements
  • Discipline problems
  • The reduction of productivity
  • Work accidents and incidents
  • A deterioration of the social climate
  • A possible attack on the image of the company

How to fight psycho-social risks :

To prevent psycho-social risks, understand the work environment in which you find yourself, and fight against misconceptions as much as possible. It should also be understood that despite the differences that can occur in two people, everyone is exposed to RPS.

  • There is no good stress: stress is not a necessary evil. Do not confuse stress with motivation or involvement
  • Establish solidarity among colleagues
  • Put forward a clear vision of the tasks that must be accomplished
  • Severely punish any form of violence (verbal and  physical) that occur in the company
  • Establish a recognition of the work done by the employees
  • Ensure that everyone working in the company feels safe; this will double the employee’s trust in the company.
  • The use of a HR management software can help


Written by : Senami Galiba 

Photo credit : Unsplash

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