New Avenues for Prevention of Work-Related Diseases Linked to Psychosocial Risks

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Oct 28;18(21):11354. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182111354.


The epidemic of psychosocial risks continues to increase and the COVID-19 pandemic has even worsened this threat on workers' health. This inexorable and evidence-based rise seems to be impervious to the preventive strategies proposed for more than 40 years. Hypotheses are proposed to explain this serious problem that drastically impacts public health and the economy. The objectives of this paper are to present, in this broad context of societal and cultural changes, how the present shift in management paradigms may represent opportunities to reduce work-related diseases. In the first part of this paper, we will summarize the situation on three main issues and their relation with psychosocial risks: (1) evolution of the occupational safety and health field, (2) change in the nature of work, and (3) emerging models of governance. In the second part, we will describe, through a few examples (among many others), how emerging models of corporate governance may reduce and prevent stress and burnout. Work is changing fundamentally, and this impacts workers' (and managers') health and well-being; that is why approaches in line with these changes are necessary. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced major changes in work organization. This may offer promising opportunities to reanalyze working conditions for a better control of occupational diseases and stress with all the benefits these improvements will bring for society and for individuals.

Keywords: governance; occupational health; psychosocial risks; work; work-related diseases.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Occupational Health*
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2