Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Hard and soft law approaches to addressing psychosocial risks in Europe: lessons learned in the development of the Italian approach

Iavicoli, Sergio; Leka, Stavroula; Jain, Aditya; Persechino, Benedetta; Rondinone, Bruna Maria; Ronchetti, Matteo; Valenti, Antonio


Sergio Iavicoli

Stavroula Leka

Director of Strategy & Planning

Benedetta Persechino

Bruna Maria Rondinone

Matteo Ronchetti

Antonio Valenti


Psychosocial risks in the workplace have been identified as some of the most significant emerging risks, particularly since issues such as work-related stress, which is closely linked to psychosocial risks, are widely recognised as major challenges in modern occupational safety and health. This paper presents the policy framework and key initiatives that have been implemented for the management of psychosocial risks in the workplace in Europe. It discusses several approaches and initiatives, both from a hard and soft law perspective, that have been implemented at European Union and national level. Within this context, it discusses the key issues that pertain to the development of national approaches, focussing as an example on the Management Standards for work-related stress developed in the UK and their recent adaptation in Italy. The Italian approach is discussed in detail as an example that may highlight key process elements in the development of psychosocial risk management policies, and promote good practice in this area through lessons learned. It is concluded that it is more pressing now than ever for a critical evaluation of efforts employed so far to address psychosocial risks to be conducted, and an approach at European level to be developed that will allow both flexibility and a certain level of benchmarking across members states. Such an approach can be supported by European bodies, responsible for surveillance and promotion of good practice, working in collaboration with similar national bodies.


Iavicoli, S., Leka, S., Jain, A., Persechino, B., Rondinone, B. M., Ronchetti, M., & Valenti, A. (2014). Hard and soft law approaches to addressing psychosocial risks in Europe: lessons learned in the development of the Italian approach. Journal of Risk Research, 17(7), 855-869.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 21, 2013
Online Publication Date Aug 22, 2013
Publication Date Aug 9, 2014
Deposit Date Mar 12, 2019
Journal Journal of Risk Research
Print ISSN 1366-9877
Electronic ISSN 1466-4461
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 7
Pages 855-869
Keywords psychosocial risks, hard law, soft law, policy, Europe, Italy
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope: