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Approche juridique comparée des risques psychosociaux au travail. Démarche française et systèmes étrangers (Europe du Sud et du Nord, Québec, Japon) – COMPARISK

Submission summary

A number of studies, both on a European (Dublin Foundation, the European Agency in Bilbao, etc.) and national (e.g. DARES) level, have shown that certain effects of current changes in work (greater pressure, production organisation, etc.) are placing increasing stress on workers' mental health. While physical health and safety have received considerable attention in legislation and legal theory, certain forms of deterioration of mental health at work have rarely been studied in any detail and are even less frequently the subject of specific legal provisions. In contrast, the concept of "psychosocial risks" and protection of mental health at work have been analysed and studied in depth by various scientific disciplines (psychology, medicine, sociology, ergonomics, etc.). Although a few studies and some normative research have been carried out, as well as surveys among the social partners, there has never been a thorough comparison of the French legal system with the provisions of other countries on this issue. Health at work in France has difficulty integrating the concepts of psychosocial suffering and risks. Even when these factors are considered, there is great difficulty understanding and accepting norms developed by the social partners and legal practitioners. Before we analyse its effectiveness, any discussion of mental health at work must, therefore, assess the acceptance of existing legal provisions. For this reason, the project includes a survey of individuals and institutions with expertise on issues related to working conditions, aimed at understanding their approaches and expectations and proposing responses in legal terms. Basically, the aim of the research programme is to provide an overview of legal recognition, conditions, and preventive measures associated with mental health issues at work. Comparative analysis will provide a broader, more diversified framework for the overview, as well as highlighting the specific features of the French situation. Initially, the study will examine national legal systems in Europe, making a distinction between Southern and Northern countries. Countries in Southern Europe are beginning to focus on the phenomenon of psychosocial risks and have made varying degrees of progress on these issues. This is of particular interest due to the topical nature of this issue and current debates on suffering at work. Some countries are also in the process of developing law on preventing psychosocial risks at work, which brings them closer to the situation in France. Countries in Northern Europe have the advantage of many years' experience in implementing systems for preventing suffering at work. The second stage will look beyond Europe, studying solutions from North-American and Asian countries, specifically Quebec and Japan, where the culture is particularly sensitive to problems related to deteriorating mental health at work. Each year, two reports will be produced and a study session organised. The research programme will conclude with an international symposium, a final report, and a comparative law publication focusing on the various legal systems studied and the specific features of French law, as well as a multidisciplinary analysis of the difficulties involved in enacting legal norms in the field of psychosocial risks at work and the variability in their acceptance.

Project coordinator

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


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Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 0 Months

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