The changing world of work is making increased demands on workers. Downsizing and outsourcing, greater need for flexibility both in functions and skills, increasing temporary contracts, greater job insecurity, higher workloads, long working hours, work intensification and poor work-life balance are all factors which place high emotional demands at work and contribute to work-related stress. Stress is not a new phenomenon. Stress at work is becoming increasingly globalized and affects all occupations, all categories of workers and their families, both in developing and developed countries. It is now widely acknowledged that stress at work is a common problem and that it has a high cost in terms of workers' health, absenteeism, lower performance and productivity; however, not enough attention has been paid to the psychosocial factors that contribute to stress at workplace level. Working in a stressful environment, for instance, or being confronted with job insecurity can lead workers to smoke or drink more, and in some cases to start using drugs in order to cope with the problems; stress can also lead to violence in the workplace. The use of alcohol and drugs has an impact on sleep, performance and judgement, and can increase the risk of unprotected sex. The 'tension' some jobs impose also affects workers' eating and sleeping habits. The sedentary nature of other jobs, together with the lack of exercise, can cause problems such as obesity and high cholesterol levels. Taken together, all these factors lead to health-related problems for the worker and lower productivity for the enterprise/organization. They also represent a major cause of accidents, fatal injuries and diseases at work. Stress also takes a heavy toll in terms of reduced productivity and efficiency by means of absenteeism, higher medical costs and staff turnover, as well as the associated cost of recruiting and training new workers. Both employers and workers have the responsibility to address psychosocial hazards at the workplace and find innovative ways to deal with the consequences of the risks associated with psychosocial factors such as, stress, violence, abuse of alcohol and drug consumption at the workplace. Initiatives to improve working conditions by promoting occupational health.
-Employers, general managers, human resource managers, OSH and social welfare managers of organizations and enterprises. - Directors and officers of institutions and government departments responsible for OSH and health promotion. - Members of organizations of employers and trade unions, with an active interest in health promotion at the workplace level. - Managers and staff from organizations supporting enterprises. - Consultants and university teachers and researchers working in the fields of occupational safety and health or health promotion.