Health and well-being
Maintaining and promoting the health and well-being of workers is an important condition in ensuring quality of work and employment. It concerns physical, mental and social well-being. The Foundation paper Quality of work and employment: issues and challenges identifies three main aspects to be considered:
- health problems;
- risk exposure;
- work organisation.
Health problems most often associated with work are:
- musculoskeletal: in 2005, 25% of European workers complained of backache and 23% of muscular pains;
- psychosocial: in 2005, 22% of workers cited stress as the main work-related health symptom.
Harassment and violence in the workplace are other problems that have direct and indirect effects on health and quality of life at work. Around one in 20 (5%) workers reported having been subjected to bullying and harassment in the workplace in 2005.
Reasons for health-related problems at work include:
- Changing nature of work
- Persistence of traditional exposure factors
- Organisational factors, such as high levels of repetitive and stressful work
- Increased time pressures
- Increased intensification of work (pace-related)
- Increased multi-skilling
The reality of an ageing workforce is a further significant factor in an examination of health-related problems in the workplace.