Psychosocial Hazard Analysis in a Heterogeneous Workforce : Determinants of Work Stress in Blue- and White-Collar Workers of the European Steel Industry
The European steel industry’s workforce is highly heterogeneous and consists of various occupational groups, presumably facing different psychosocial stressors. The few existing studies on the subject mainly focused on physical constraints of blue-collar workers, whereas the supposable psychosocial workload received only little research attention. This is remarkable considering the challenges associated with statutory required risk assessment of psychosocial hazards. Valid measures of hazard analysis must account for various stressors and reliably identify them, also between occupational groups. The present study, based on a sample of blue- and white-collar workers (N = 124) from the European steel industry, aims to provide a first insight into psychosocial stressors and strain at work in this rarely researched industrial sector. Furthermore, two well-known theoretical roadmaps in job analysis are examined regarding their utility for risk assessment in heterogeneous workforces: the German standard version of the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) and the short version of the effort–reward imbalance questionnaire. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that the COPSOQ was better suited to predict various strain indices in the present sample. Especially stressors relating to socioemotional aspects, such as work-privacy conflict, revealed a reasonable impact, indicating the need for comprehensive solutions at the organizational level instead of solutions focusing on single workplaces. To conclude, a broadly diversified and validated approach in psychosocial risk assessment is needed to adequately assess the variety of psychosocial factors at work and in different occupational groups.