In recent years, the PSA has followed up the companies' own management and follow-up of psychosocial and organisational risks through supervisory activities aimed at operators, contractors and service companies.

In this work, we have concentrated in particular on the follow-up of psychosocial and organisational risk factors identified in surveys, on the involvement of workers in follow-up work, and on preventive work being based on the concept of a hierarchy of hazard controls.

Removing the source of exposure

In preventive work, it is important that the companies work to eliminate or reduce sources of exposure. For psychosocial and organisational working environments, it is about prioritising measures that address the way the work is organised, designed and managed.

Examples include removing the causes of excessive workload, facilitating good planning, clearly identified roles and accountability, and enabling employees to influence their own day-to-day working.

A review of experiences from audits shows that deficient planning and task prioritisation and inadequate staffing result in greater unpredictability and high workload. Hazard control strategies lack sufficient anchoring in risk models and established knowledge of the determinants of health and safety hazards.

Preventive measures must build on what we know has the greatest impact on employees' work situations, such as workload, roles and responsibilities, management support, follow-up and mastery.

In order to take the most appropriate and beneficial steps in preventive work, knowledge of working conditions in the workplace is essential.

The working environment differs from workplace to workplace. Knowledge of the challenges facing an individual enterprise is therefore a prerequisite. This involves posing questions about the specific challenges in one’s own workplace and then implementing measures, before re-evaluating.

Our experience shows that employees are not sufficiently involved in the design of measures. Employees are the ones who know their working environment best and will be most able to design improvement measures. 

Ensure adequate training and instruction

Training and instruction is also used in preventive work to increase understanding of risk conditions and management. In this context, training and instruction may include topics such as stress management, good principles for managing psychosocial and organisational risk and conflict management. Training and instruction help strengthen employees' capabilities and strategies for preventing harm and promote a good working environment.

It is important that the companies ensure that there are proper arrangements for adjusting how work is organised when health problems or sickness absences occur. These are measures and follow-up that are taken to limit further escalation when a problem has arisen or for the reintroduction of an employee to the workplace.

Our follow-up has shown that managers and employees do not have the necessary competence to follow up the psychosocial and organisational working environment. Furthermore, we observe that training does not have sufficient focus on managing psychosocial and organisational risk.

Prevention that places organisation of the work at the centre

Measures aimed at limiting the consequences of a problem or a negative development are reactive. While it is important to enact measures where the goal is to limit or prevent the worsening of a situation, it is essential that companies prioritise measures aimed at exposure in the working environment, such as unclear roles and responsibilities, high workload, lack of management support and uncertainty due to high rates of change in the workplace.

Experience from supervisory audits shows that companies place less emphasis on organisation in systematic and preventive work. Findings show that companies often rely on reactive and individualised measures.