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.

Why is a PSA policy important?

Your employees often spend a lot of time at work. If they experience work stress here, they may suffer from 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.

With a PSA policy, you prevent your employees from experiencing a psychosocial workload. And you reduce the amount of stress your employees are under.

Causes of PSA

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

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.

Employees must be able to 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 inventory 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 help.

Measures against PSA

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

  • 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 experience sexual harassment.
  • 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. You discuss the specific risks of your employees, how they can recognise them, and what the consequences may be. You 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? And if it you are acting in accordance with the legal obligations of the Working Conditions Act? Check this with the self-inspection tool Work pressure and Unwanted behaviour of the Dutch Labour Inspectorate. This way you know what an inspector is looking for. You will also receive a list of actions and improvements.

Complete the Work Pressure and Unwanted Behaviour self-inspection tool (only available in Dutch).

What should your employee do?

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

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK