Creating a psychosocial workload policy

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

If employees do not feel well at work, this can lead to work stress. For example, due to a high workload or unwanted behaviour. This is called psychosocial workload (psychosociale arbeidsbelasting, PSA). According to the law, you must have a PSA policy. This prevents and limits (health) complaints among your employees.

What is PSA?

Psychosocial workload (psychosociale arbeidsbelasting, PSA) is stress caused by unwanted behaviour and excessive work pressure. This can lead to physical, psychological, or social complaints. When that happens, an employee can do their job less well. It also leads to more absenteeism, burnouts, and sometimes even long-term illness or disability.

Causes of PSA

If employees experience a psychosocial workload, this can have various causes. For example:

Read more about psychosocial and physical strain in the workplace.

Is a PSA policy mandatory?

According to the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet). you must draw up a policy against psychosocial workload. The PSA policy is part of the working conditions in your Health & Safety policy.

This policy ensures employees can work safely and healthily. If you do not have a PSA policy, the Dutch Labour Inspectorate can take measures. You risk a high fine.

Create a PSA policy

You create a PSA policy based on your company's risk assessment and evaluation (RI&E). The RI&E shows what the health and safety risks are for your employees. First, you describe when your employees could suffer from PSA and the possible causes. Then you make a plan of action with measures to prevent and reduce PSA.

Do not forget that you should also regularly check if the measures are helping.

Measures against PSA

There are various measures you can take against psychosocial workload. For example:

  • Make sure your employees know they can come to you or their manager if they want to talk.
  • Appoint a confidential advisor. Employees talk to this person when they cannot or do not want to go to their manager. For instance, if they are sexually harassed or bullied by their manager.
  • Create a code of conduct for (un)desirable manners. Determine what desired behaviour is and how employees should interact with each other and customers. Also include how you deal with unwanted behaviour. Such as bullying, sexual harassment, and aggression.
  • Set up a complaints procedure, so that employees can formally share their complaints.
  • Do further research into the causes of work pressure within your company. For example, with an anonymous questionnaire or interviews.
  • Educate your employees about PSA. For example, about work pressure. Discuss the specific risks your employees face, how they can recognise them, and what the consequences may be. Also tell them about the measures you have taken to prevent this.

Check if you are doing enough against PSA

Do you want to know if you are doing enough against psychosocial workload? Complete the Work Pressure and Unwanted Behaviour self-inspection tool (only available in Dutch). This check will tell you what an inspector is looking for. You will also receive a list of actions and improvements.

What should your employee do?

You must provide a safe and healthy work environment. But your employees must also take responsibility. As far as they can, employees must take care of their safety and health. For themselves and for others, such as colleagues.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK