Why is there a Regional Observatory on psychosocial risks in Aquitaine (ORRPSA)?
The world of work knows deep changes impacting, in a more explicit way than before, the mental health of the workers. This evolution is brought to light by numerous studies showing intensification in work load, modification in working conditions, standardization of procedures and interactions, development in evaluating performances and a rise in a feeling of insecurity. A series of work-linked suicides have made the public self-aware, but also the companies concerned by how to prevent these professional risks, of the general ill-being within the professional environment.
The links between work organisation and mental health, the different forms of harassment, violence at work, circumstances of stress, are as many factors qualifying psychosocial risks. The consequences on the workers’ health are explained by psychosocial disorders, through depressions, burn out/ chronicle fatigue states, pathogen stress, physical symptoms (TMS, heart pathology ...) even, for the most dramatic consequences, suicidal acts.
The multifactor and complex elements of psychosocial risks make it a particular category of professional risks. It draws specific inquiring in relation to professional risks that are more classic and easier to objectivise (like physical risks). An interdisciplinary approach and in close collaboration with agents in the field thus seem vital. In Aquitaine, scientific teams and many agents for the prevention of professional risks testify of competency in terms of psychosocial risks. Nonetheless, the research and actions taken need to be linked together. This realisation has brought about the idea to create an observatory. It has a double purpose to federate and organise at an interdisciplinary level, the research on psychosocial risks and create interactions between the preventers and the researchers.
An experimental initiative
Created by COMPTRASEC, the ORRPSA is an experimental initiative in France. Beyond a mission based on observation and analysis of information, the idea is also to produce work accessible to the scientific teams and the agents, to develop collaborations and to allow the actors in the Aquitaine region to have access to information and competence where it is usually hard to get. The objective is to produce and spread knowledge susceptible to help in the decision-making or in the improvement of the work place and the companies environment.
The ORRPSA is also part of the second Regional plan health-work (Plan régional santé-travail (PRST2 Aquitaine). The observatory represents indeed the main initiative concerning the axe “psychosocial risks”, aiming at contributing in the effort engaged in Aquitaine regarding the fight against the psychosocial risks at work and concentrating on a strong initiative.
The experimental element is also found in the emphasis put on the interdisciplinary action in a way to federate the research and the knowledge in Aquitaine about the knotty concept of psychosocial risks at work.