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Worker representation and psycho-social risks: a problematic relationship?

Walters, David ORCID: 2011. Worker representation and psycho-social risks: a problematic relationship? Safety Science 49 (4) , pp. 599-606. 10.1016/j.ssci.2010.09.008

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This paper explores the relationship between worker representation and the prevention and control of psycho-social risks at work. It argues that to understand this relationship it is helpful to position it within the labour relations context in which it occurs and which helps explain the strengths and limitations of interventions involving worker representation. The paper opens with some important questions of definition with regard to psycho-social risks and worker representation and consultation on health and safety. It goes on to review the evidence for the success or otherwise of worker representation in health and safety generally and discusses this evidence in relation to the control of psycho-social risks specifically. It discusses the problems that the restructuring of work pose for the sustainability of the preconditions for the effectiveness of the statutory model on which worker representation on psycho-social risk is predicated. In so doing the paper notes that many of the features of current restructuring of work that present problems for traditional model of worker representation are the same ones that lead to the increased prevalence of psycho-social risks at the workplace. The paper identifies both barriers and opportunities presented by the changing world of work for achieving an improved preventive scenario for psycho-social risks and discusses the implications of these for current and future strategies of trade unions. It concludes that in the present political and economic climate the state cannot be relied upon for effective regulatory strategies on the psycho-social risks of work. In the absence, or much reduced presence, of this support, some joined up thinking on the part of organised labour is required. Interventions by health and safety representatives on psycho-social risks at the workplace level need to be fully integrated in such thinking if they are to be effective.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre (CWERC)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Uncontrolled Keywords: Worker representation; Psycho-social risks; Health and safety
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0925-7535
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 08:52

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