More must be done to address stress in the workplace - Dalli

Civil liberties minister Helena Dalli called on social partners to continue their work on addressing psychosocial risk in the work place

Malta has made great strides in combating workplace stress but there is still a way to go, civil liberties minister Helena Dalli said.

Addressing a seminar on psychosocial risk in the workplace, Dalli said that Malta’s situation has improved when it comes to work place safety, with accidents in the work place having dropped by 50% in the past 12 years.

Psychosocial hazards, not just physical accidents, have increasingly become of concern, with work-related stress being the second most frequently reported issue across the European Union. Half of employees report some degree of stress.

“Eurostat has stated that over a nine year period, 28% of employees in Europe were exposed to psychosocial risks at work that had a negative effect on their mental well-being,” she added.

An international framework sgreement for preventing and managing work-related stress aimed to encourage companies to become aware of this phenomenon and learn how to prevent and manage stress in the workplace.

“This agreement, like others before and after it, was meant to be implemented by the national social partners mainly through collective agreements or agreements on recommendations and guidance,” Dalli explained.

She added however that in a report on the implementation of this agreement issued in 2011, the European Commission had stated that worryingly, social partners in Malta had not reported on the implementation of the agreement.

The Occupational Health and Safety Association (OHSA) however did much work on its own initiative and with the support of social partners to push forward the framework and its goals.  

She added that the framework document outlines the various measures that the social partners should take such as awareness-raising, training and education as well as the sharing of resources both internally and between enterprises.

Dalli urged social partners to continue their work in this regard, saying that there was still a long way to go, both in Malta and abroad.