It’s widely recognised the impact of psychosocial exposure for the promotion of healthy workplaces. Knowing that European industry is mainly constituted by SMEs, and that SMEs are faced as key players for economic and sustainable growth, innovation, employment and social integration, undertaking and managing psychosocial exposure in SMEs is an urgent need. The main objective of this work is to present and discuss the main constrains faced by SMEs when implementing Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management systems that encompass psychosocial risks.
This work is based on interventions at the workplace that occurred between the years 2010 and 2015 in Portuguese metalworking SMEs: i) 21 OH&S management systems implementation; ii) 37 OH&S audits.
From the current work the authors make some assumptions: i) the transposition of European Directives, namely Council Directive 89/391/EEC to European country laws enhanced the awareness of SMEs for the need of OH&S management, namely concerning psychosocial risks; ii) the integration of evidence into practice is potentiated by the application of standards to the workplace or other still methodologies; iii) The methodologies must be tailored according to the SMEs specificities, namely size, industrial sector, culture, etc.; iv) The approach to psychosocial risk management in SMEs must start with a structured and modest approach and evolve continuously to more mature systems; v) The full potential for dealing and managing psychosocial risk cannot by achieved without developing additional control methods – concerning for example auditing practices, and continual improvement techniques.