ABSTRACT

The purpose of this chapter is to present an overview of the various initiatives that have been taken by European companies to prevent or reduce workplace stress. For this purpose, we will use a broad definition of ‘stress’. This definition includes not only psychosocial stressors (e.g. poor job content, poor work organisation, poor social relationships and social conditions at work), but also physical stressors in the workplace (e.g. lack of safety, ergonomic shortcomings, stressful ambient factors), as well as work-related psychological health problems (‘strains’). Consequently, in overviewing the practice of ‘stress prevention’ in Europe, we will take into account all initiatives and activities that are directed at (1) the reduction (or elimination) of psychosocial and/or physical stressors in the workplace, (2) the reduction (or elimination) of workrelated ill health, absenteeism and permanent work incapacity, and (3) the improvement or promotion of health at the workplace.