The aim of this chapter is to reconstruct the regulatory framework concerning the prevention of psychosocial risks (PSRs) in the context of the European Union law and to assess its effectiveness.The analysis retraces the references to this topic, from the first Health-and-Safety at Work action programme of 1978 to the Communication on the Modernisation of the EU Occupational Safety and Health Legislation and Policy published by the Commission in 2017 . Specifically, it highlights how these references found their roots and were translated into EU law, both through hard law sources, as interpreted by the Court of Justice, and soft law regulatory instruments, issued by the EU institutions or the social partners at European level. In this reconstruction, the author points out how the key question underlying the development of the EU regulatory system in the field of PSRs does not concern the actual existence of a solid protection basis at hard law level – which can be properly identified within the 89/391/EEC directive as interpreted by the ECJ and the European Commission – but rather to the effectiveness of such protection and to the functionality of soft law in ensuring its implementation and detailing its content.
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