Browse by subject - Workplace health promotion
17 June 2013: Psychosocial factors and work sustainability (Denmark / Information update)
A study on psychosocial working conditions among employees in the public and private sector was carried out in 2011 by FTF, a trade union representing professionals in Denmark. The results showed FTF members experienced higher job insecurity and higher emotional demands than the reference labour force. They also had a greater workload and increased pace of work. These factors had a major impact on workers’ well-being, health and the age when they expected to retire.
07 June 2013: Impact of chronic ill-health and disability on employment (Cyprus / Information update)
A survey by the Statistical Service of Cyprus in November 2012 looked at the effects of chronic ill-health and disability on employment. Some 12% of respondents suffered from a long-term health or disability problem, though the majority said it was not related to work. Almost half of the people with such a problem still went out to work. The survey looked at the different types of long-term health problems and disabilities, their causes and how they affect people’s ability to work.
07 May 2013: Prevalence of cancer in certain occupations (Norway / Information update)
A report has shed new light on the incidence of cancer in different occupational groups in Norway. The report Occupation and cancer shows that certain types of cancer, including lung cancer, are especially prevalent in construction and in some jobs in the manufacturing and service industries. Among women, a higher risk of lung cancer was found among painting and wallpapering workers. An increased risk of breast cancer was found in women doing jobs requiring higher educational qualifications.
08 April 2013: Challenges of an ageing population (Estonia / Information update)
A study by Estonia’s Centre of Applied Social Sciences looks at older people in the labour market and shows that overall awareness of the challenges society faces due to the ageing population is very low. Based on the results, researchers recommend improving measures designed to keep workers in the job market for longer. These include life-long learning initiatives, more flexible working conditions and preventative health care measures.
08 April 2013: Job satisfaction low among doctors (Bulgaria / Information update)
Job satisfaction among doctors in Bulgaria was the subject of a survey conducted by healthcare information network Healthgrouper. The research showed doctors were generally unhappy with their wages, work-life balance and health service reforms. High levels of stress at work also had a negative impact on doctors’ job satisfaction. High levels of job satisfaction were identified with the overall work environment, including relationships with colleagues and autonomy at work.
15 February 2013: Work-related mental stress focus of research and policy debate (Germany / Information update)
Flexible working may be contributing to levels of stress according to a study among German employees. The research was carried out at a time when there was continuing policy debate on amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to address work-related stress. An annual Absenteeism Report by health insurer AOK has provided new evidence which suggests the ‘flexibilisation’ of working times and locations is associated with higher levels of mental strain.
17 December 2012: Women workers and managers more prone to headaches (Norway / Information update)
In a study by Norway’s National Institute of Occupational Health, a range of occupational psychological, social, and mechanical factors were identified as predictors of headache severity. The study showed that seven out of 16 psychological, social and mechanical factors had a particular impact. Role conflict in an employee’s work life, lack of control over work, and job dissatisfaction were most commonly associated with the occurrence of a severe headache.
09 November 2012: Road safety not a priority for companies (France / Information update)
Road accidents have been identified as the main cause of work-related deaths in France. However, a French Ministry of Labour study found the subject of road safety and prevention of road accidents did not featured prominently in the health and safety strategy of most French companies. It is hoped the results of this research will be used to raise awareness of road safety issues so that prevention of road accidents becomes an integral part of training for French companies.
10 October 2012: Rise in number of companies instigating prevention activities (Spain / Survey data report [ or view as size 114 kb])
According to the 2009 National Survey on Enterprises’ Health and Safety Management, 43% of companies with six or more workers had risk prevention representatives. Of the surveyed establishments, 20% did not carry out risk assessments whereas 61% had arranged health and safety training in the previous two years. Use of external prevention services had increased since 1999. Work accidents and musculoskeletal problems were the most frequently registered health risks.
19 September 2012: Survey finds men more exposed to physical risks at work than women (Denmark / Information update)
In April 2012, the Danish National Institute of Public Health published its report Health and Morbidity in Denmark 2010 – & developments since 1987. The survey looked at aspects of the working environment – both psychosocial and physical. Respondents were asked how they felt about the demands of their workload, the influence they had over their jobs, about working conditions, about lifting and carrying, and about how much support they were given by their managers.
07 September 2012: Workers less inclined to put up with illegal working conditions (Latvia / Information update)
The Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia has conducted its ninth survey on labour relations and safety at work. The survey, which received financial support from EU Structural funds and was carried out by research centre SKDS, asked questions on attitudes to working for organisations which violated labour laws, awareness of labour relations rules, and knowledge of safety equipment. One finding was that people were not happy to work without a written contract or without being paid for overtime.
30 August 2012: Rise in workplace safety inspections for Euro 2012 tournament (Poland / Information update)
Poland’s National Labour Inspectorate carried out more work safety and working conditions inspections in 2011 than in 2010, partly as a result of a monitoring project put in place to supervise the building of infrastructure for the Euro 2012 football tournament. The Chief Labour Inspector reports that more work was stopped and more fines imposed because of safety infringements, and that bigger companies helped raise the standard of work among smaller subcontractors.
16 August 2012: New businesses failing to reach safety standards (Slovakia / Information update)
During 2011, Slovakia’s Labour Inspectorate carried out checks on working conditions and occupational safety and health across a number of new organisations, and detected widespread deficiencies in the field. During the checks in the wholesale and retail sectors, construction industry and the hotel and catering sector, inspectors provided consultancy, insisted employers eliminate problems that were discovered and, in some cases, imposed financial penalties.
24 July 2012: New EU-level agreement to promote safety in fishing industry (EU Level / Information update)
A new agreement was signed in May 2012 by the social partners at EU level in the sea fisheries sector. The agreement covers conditions of service, accommodation and food, occupational safety and health protection, medical care, and social security for those on board fishing vessels. It implements at EU level the 2007 ILO Convention on work in fishing. The social partners intend to ask the European Commission to give the agreement legal force by means of a directive.
09 July 2012: Role and contribution of corporate health service providers (Norway / Information update)
A project by the National Institute of Occupational Health and the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority examined the role and impact of occupational health service providers in Norwegian enterprises. Companies claimed to prioritise work environment surveys and occupational health monitoring more than the corporate health services believed they did. Both parties believed that corporate health services contributed to dialogue much more than indicated by inspections.
13 June 2012: GEAR for Changes project promotes health and well-being (Slovenia / Information update)
The GEAR for Changes project focused on small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) where restructuring was being planned or underway. It aimed to raise awareness of the benefits of incorporating timely and constructive attention to issues affecting individual and organisational health and well-being into the restructuring process. It also served as a platform for the exchange of experience and knowledge. The project included participants from Slovenia, Croatia and the UK.
17 May 2012: Social dialogue helps to improve working conditions (Latvia / Information update)
A 2009–2010 survey on working conditions and risks by the Latvian Employers’ Confederation repeated a similar survey from 2005 to 2006. Employees were more satisfied with their job and working conditions than the self-employed, though only the latter reported increased satisfaction. Employers with a collective agreement were more likely to perform a risk analysis, but over half of employers were found to be unfamiliar with the requirements of the Labour Safety Law.
08 May 2012: Romania: EWCO CAR on Use of Alcohol/Drugs at the Workplace (Romania / National Contribution)
Alcohol and drug addiction at the work place has not been a topic of interest for trade unions and employer organisations. Public authorities developed strategies and plans to control the use of alcohol and drugs, with a special eye for the young population, but the actions and targets to keep in check such habits among workers are rather weak.
08 May 2012: Spain- EWCO CAR on Use of Alcohol/Drugs at the Workplace (Spain / National Contribution)
The use of alcohol and drugs among Spanish working population is more common in sectors such as “catering trade” and “construction”, as well as among those workers with the worst labour conditions. With regard to Spanish legislation, there are limited references to alcohol and drug issues, although some Autonomous Communities have approved specific laws. Moreover, there are particular economic activities or professions where special limitations have been established (especially concerning dangerous activities). Finally, in Spain, social partners play an active role in the implementation of prevention programmes, where trade unions, employers’ organizations and public representatives frequently collaborate.
08 May 2012: ITALY: EWCO CAR on Use of Alcohol/Drugs at the Workplace (Italy / National Contribution)
While alcohol and drugs abuse is a very sensitive issue for specific targets, especially students and young people, there is quite a poor attention at workplace. Specific information are limited to some local-level surveys. Further, prevention policies display quite poor link with workplace and trade unions raise several critical issues about the employers’ implementory attitudes.
04 May 2012: Netherlands Contribution on the Use of Alcohol/Drugs at the Workplace (Netherlands / National Contribution)
In the Netherlands there are no recent data on alcohol consumption or drug use at work. As far as there are data, they are quite old (2003) and from one single study. The data that is more recently collected reflect habitual alcohol consumption and drug use. Recent data suggest that alcohol consumption and drug use are relatively low in people with paid work. Unemployed and students, mainly men, are much more of a risk group. Sectors with relatively high alcohol consumption are horeca, building & construction, agriculture and social and other services. No sector information on drug use (at work) is available. The Netherlands has no specific legislation or other national initiative regarding alcohol consumption or drug abuse. The building & construction sectors does not pay attention to alcohol consumption or drug use. The transport sector is a little more active regarding the use of alcohol. Regarding prevention a literature study in the Netherlands (not just based on Dutch literature though) concluded that prevention of alcohol consumption is quite effective, except for those preventive actions that were implemented through the worksite.
04 May 2012: Denmark: EWCO comparative analytical report on Trends: Use of Alcohol/Drugs at the Workplace (Denmark / National Contribution)
In Denmark, control measures intending to control use of alcohol or drugs among employees at the workplace is not widespread. Testing practises are to some extend comprised by the managerial rights (ledelsesretten), and when used by the employer, it is often regulated by collective and local agreements between the social partners. The use of testing practises is not widespread in Denmark, and it is mainly established within the sector of transport.
03 May 2012: Use of alcohol and drugs at the workplace (TRANS NATIONAL / Comparative analytical report [ or view as size 299 kb])
Alcohol and drugs represent a serious problem for a significant percentage of the working population (5%–20% of workers), especially in some sectors and occupations. Consumption of alcohol and drugs at work can have negative impacts for individuals and organisations in terms of health problems, more instances of sick leave/short-term absenteeism, reduced performance, labour conflicts, more work accidents, company image problems, and damage to equipment or products. Public authorities and social partners in EU countries have developed national legislation and agreements banning/limiting alcohol/drug use at work, with a focus on testing practices intended to control usage at work. Public authorities and social partners have also adopted various policy measures to prevent and combat the negative effects of alcohol and drug use at work.
15 March 2012: Occupational safety and health in SMEs (Slovakia / Information update)
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a key element of the Slovak economy. Their specific characteristics have a major impact on how they manage occupational safety and health (OSH)and working conditions. A recent analysis by the Institute for Labour and Family Research of OSH and working conditions in SMEs highlighted the different approaches demanded of state OSH inspectors and recommended measures aimed at increasing the effectiveness of inspections.
27 February 2012: Occupational accidents fall by 25% over five years (Romania / Information update)
The latest activity report published by Romania’s Labour Inspection Office shows that the number of occupational accidents in 2010 fell by a quarter compared to 2006, and the number of fatal accidents dropped by 35.7%. Consequently the number of days’ work lost due to incapacity is also falling. Although the trend is downward across the economy, coal mining sector workers continue to be exposed to the highest level of risk, being 15 times more likely than other sectors to have an accident at work.
05 December 2011: Health and safety of workers on fixed-term and temporary contracts (EU Level / Information update)
A report by the European Commission in July 2011 examines the impact of Council Directive 91/333/EC on improving the safety and health at work of those with a fixed-term or temporary contract. The report notes the relative lack of problems in transposing the directive by Member States but concludes that fixed-term and temporary workers are still comparatively more exposed to occupational health and safety risks than workers with other types of employment contracts.
14 November 2011: Impact of the More Inclusive Working Life Agreement (Norway / Information update)
In Norway, the tripartite Agreement on a More Inclusive Working Life (IA Agreement) has been extended three times since it was signed in 2001. Two reports by the National Institute of Occupational Health show that, for 1994–2005, the duration of sick leave was on average shorter for employees in an IA company than for those in companies without an agreement. The level of disability benefits was also significantly lower for IA employees than for non-IA employees.
07 October 2011: Workers prone to stress and burn-out at work (Luxembourg / Survey data report [ or view as size 165 kb])
Through itssurvey ‘Well-being at work in Luxembourg 2010’carried out by TNS-ILRES in December 2009 to January 2010, the Luxembourg Chamber of Employees (CSL) sought to provide an insight into the feelings of Luxembourg workers in 2010 about their workplace. More than 1,500 employees (both Luxembourg residents and cross-border workers from Belgium, France and Germany) from various economic sectors were asked to answer questions on a range of issues including health and safety, work and society, psychosocial demands ofwork, andergonomics in the workplace.Astriking finding is the high proportion of workers (90%) who claim to have experienced some stress at work, with 20% admitting to having felt burn-out.
26 September 2011: Fewer occupational accidents but more violence at work (Finland / Survey data report [ or view as size 116 kb])
The Finnish National Work and Health Survey of working conditions and occupational health is carried out every three years by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. This report examines trends in occupational accidents and violence, exposure to noise, vibration and chemical substances, physical workload, management interest in well-being at work, achieving work–life balance, health-related behaviour and the role of occupational health services.The desire to stay in work longer, better work–life balance and fewer occupational accidents are among the positive trends reported.
05 August 2011: Well-being at work: innovation and good practice (Finland / Information update)
The EU Well-being at Work project in 2008 sought to encourage comprehensive action promoting the better health, safety and well-being of the workforce simultaneously with the organisation’s productivity and success. A report published by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health describes the management changes needed to achieve well-being at work and presents a self-evaluation matrix that organisations can use to determine the standard of their performance.
20 May 2011: Enhancing the well-being of miners (Finland / Information update)
The main aim of a comprehensive, three-year Finnish mining occupational health and safety (OSH) project was to improve safety, security and cooperation and have a direct positive impact on occupational well-being. Information was gathered on successful and well-functioning safety practices and made available to all mining companies in Finland. The collaborative project also developed new tools for evaluating and developing OSH practices in mines.
29 April 2011: Employees’ view of working conditions and health and safety (Slovakia / Information update)
A survey by the Institute of Labour and Family Research in 2010 examined the attitudes of employers (managers and directors), employees and safety specialists to the application of occupational health and safety (OSH) requirements in 50 Slovak enterprises. Compared with the results of a similar survey in 2004, employees were generally more aware of OSH requirements and more satisfied about the information provided and the approach adopted by employers to OSH issues.
15 March 2011: Quality of work in the crisis (EU Level / Information update)
The report issued by the Employment Committee in November 2010 on quality of work in the EU was based on the findings of a thematic review in June 2010 which sought to exchange experiences about labour market policies intended to promote quality of work, with a focus on measures designed to manage the economic crisis. The report examines actions by Member States in areas such as skills development, health and safety, work–life balance, flexibility and adequate earnings.
02 March 2011: Unions conduct a survey of working conditions (Romania / Information update)
The Romanian National Trade Union Bloc has published the findings of a survey of both employees and employers on ‘Working conditions, satisfaction and performance at work’. Employees were asked about their working schedule, the factors affecting their mental and physical health in the workplace, and the health and safety measures provided by their companies. The answers to the health and safety questions differed significantly between employees and employers.
17 February 2011: New assessment of the cost of a poor work environment (Sweden / Information update)
Full assessment of the costs of poor working conditions in Sweden is hindered by a lack of data and the many regulations involved. In a report for the Swedish Work Environment Authority, researchers from the Institute of Social Research at Stockholm University have called for greater coordination of the different forms of insurance in order to ease bureaucracy but also to enable the full socioeconomic costs of work accidents to become more visible and thus quantifiable.
11 February 2011: Provision of personal protective equipment and safety of working conditions (Slovakia / Information update)
In late 2009,the National Labour Inspectorate visited 110 enterprises in Slovakia to inspect the surveillance by companies of the safety and quality of personal protective equipment (PPE) produced in the Slovak Republic or imported, and to monitor the compliance of employers with their obligation to provide employees with appropriate PPE. Over three-quarters of the 550 deficiencies identified by the inspectors involved failures in the provision and use of PPE.
23 November 2010: Romania: EWCO comparative analytical report on Work-related Stress (Romania / National Contribution)
The institutional framework for health and safety at work has been designed to support the interventions on work-related stress management in all three stages: primary (action on causes), secondary (action on individuals), and tertiary (action on the consequences of stress). According to the 'Living Conditions Survey' data, the share of employed persons that found, at the time, that their occupational work was neuropsychically stressful had dropped from 20.9% in 2002 to 19.2% in 2003 and 2005. In the second quarter of 2007, a number of 520,842 individuals (5.5% of all employed) stated that they were exposed only to factors affecting their mental health. Even if the aspects related to the management of occupation stress are enclosed in the collective agreement this subject remains less approached in practice.
22 October 2010: GREECE: EWCO comparative analytical report on Information, consultation and participation of workers concerning health and safety (Greece / National Contribution)
In general, the laws in Greece regarding information, consultation and participation of SME workers in health and safety issues are deemed adequate. Nevertheless, difficulties are encountered in the application of the measures provided for by laws, with the result of Greece still holding one of the highest occupational accident rates in the European Union despite the decrease of such in the country over time.
22 October 2010: Cyprus: EWCO comparative analytical report on Information, consultation and participation of workers concerning health and safety” (Cyprus / National Contribution)
The present questionnaire deals with health and safety management between SMEs and large enterprises. In Cyprus, the legislation is applied to all enterprises irrespective of size, while the Department of Labour Inspection is assisting micro and small enterprises to implement an effective workplace health and safety management system. It is important to mention that in Cyprus, SMEs accounted for the largest part (99,9%) of the total number of enterprises.
22 October 2010: Italy: EWCO comparative analytical report on Information, consultation and participation of workers concerning health and safety (Italy / National Contribution)
Information and consultation in SMEs show different patterns amongst small and micro firms with less than 50 employees and medium ones: while in the former risk assessment is carried out according to a simplified pattern and territorial level plays a dominant role thanks to territorial OHS representatives and bilateral committees providing information, technical advice, training and carrying out inspections, in the latter patterns are more centred on company level displaying poor differences with respect to larger firms. Tripartite consultation both at national and regional level, introduced by 2007 law on H&S, and INAIL (national insurance against work accidents) increasing promotion of its H&S standards, agreed with social partners in 2001, are the most noticeable changes in last 5 years.
31 August 2010: Impact of economic crisis on occupational health and safety management (Germany / Information update)
The findings of a recent survey carried out on behalf of Germany’s major health insurers indicate that companies in manufacturing industries with between 50 and 499 employees are showing less interest in implementing occupational health and safety management than they used to because of the economic crisis. Desired support includes information on regional/sectoral good practice and tax deductible expenditure as well as individual assistance by external experts.
09 April 2010: Survey explores trends in working environment and health (Sweden / Survey data report [ or view as size 123 kb])
The Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health aims to study relations between the work environment and health over time. It follows on from the 2003 and 2005 Swedish Work Environment Surveys, and intends to follow the same group of people with questions about working and living conditions and health. Research based on the survey has covered issues such as downsizing, leadership, control and flexibility, and their consequences for health.
31 March 2010: Pathways to regular employment (Italy / Information update)
The project ‘In regola’ examines a wide range of good practices aiming to combat undeclared work and low health and safety provisions at company level. The most successful good practices devised by the social partners at company and especially at regional level jointly counter such issues. Strong regional differences are found. The existence of organised crime is a complicating factor in the effort to regularise employment and working conditions.
12 March 2010: Working conditions in health and social work sector (Bulgaria / Information update)
A study conducted by the Institute for Social and Trade Union Research examines working conditions in establishments providing health and social services in Bulgaria. It also aims to assess the main activities of the working conditions committees. Among the most frequently cited occupational risk factors are stress, and shift and night work. Accidents in the health and social work sector have increased in recent years, despite declining in other sectors.
08 March 2010: Impact of new management practices on working conditions (Germany / Information update)
The results of the 2008–2009 works council survey, carried out by the Institute of Economic and Social Research within the Hans Böckler Foundation, highlight the effects of various management practices on work strains in German companies. The survey findings provide a new insight into health risk management at establishment level, also highlighting that only a minority of companies are carrying out health risk assessments, albeit being prescribed by law.
08 March 2010: Citizens voice concerns over health and safety at work in EU poll (Slovenia / Information update)
In 2009, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work released the results of a European-wide survey on safety and health at work. According to the findings, Slovenian citizens are concerned that the economic crisis may adversely affect workplace health and safety. Although respondents feel they are well informed about health and safety at work, they believe that ill health is often caused by work and that health and safety has deteriorated in the past five years.
08 March 2010: How Europeans assess health and safety at work (EU Level / Information update)
Europe’s citizens are well informed about occupational health and safety, while also being concerned about the impact of the economic crisis and recession on their health and safety at work. These are the findings of a pan-European survey on safety and health at work, carried out by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. However, there is some fear that the improvements which Europeans have seen in this regard will be eroded by the economic crisis.
07 December 2009: Role of employee participation in improving working environment (Norway / Information update)
In general, Norwegian undertakings have implemented the basic arrangements for creating cooperation in developing the working environment, with safety delegates, working environment committees, trade unions and occupational health services in place. However, a status quo seems to have developed, with organisational matters being mainly handled by management while participation and employee–management relations are primarily handled by employees.
05 October 2009: Occupational health and safety trends in agriculture (Lithuania / Information update)
In 2008, the Lithuanian University of Agriculture conducted a survey analysing occupational health and safety in agricultural companies during 2003–2007. The survey sought to deliver recommendations on likely measures for improving occupational health and safety. While the number of fatal and serious accidents at work dropped in parallel with the decreasing number of farms and agricultural workers, the number of minor occupational accidents grew within this period.
24 August 2009: TUC guidance on avoiding skin cancer for outdoor workers (United Kingdom / Information update)
The UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) has issued guidelines for employers and union representatives on steps to minimise the risk of skin cancer for outdoor workers. The document notes the risks associated with outdoor working in the summertime and outlines a series of practical steps that can be taken to lessen the cancer risk. The guidance also raises interesting questions on the best way of regulating the risks of skin cancer to outside workers in the UK.
14 April 2009: Employee involvement in health and safety in financial sector (Italy / Information update)
According to several local-level surveys, intense restructuring in the Italian financial services sector since 1994 has led to widespread stress and other psychosocial outcomes, such as mobbing and burnout. The joint survey by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Prevention and the Independent Federation of Italian Bank Workers reveals low employee involvement in managing, implementing and assessing health and safety policies, but higher access to training and information.
23 March 2009: Uneven distribution of workplace health projects (Germany / Information update)
A 2008 report by the Central Federal Association of Health Insurance Funds shows that projects on workplace health promotion are unevenly distributed across sectors and enterprises. Workers in the services industry, women and migrant workers are much less likely to benefit from health promotion projects than workers in the manufacturing sector. The report illustrates that workplace health promotion is most widespread where works councils and trade unions are strongest.
02 March 2009: New occupational safety and health plan aims to reduce accidents at work (Slovakia / Information update)
The Slovakian government approved a Plan for Occupational Safety and Health for 2008–2012 in February 2008. It is based on the implementation of the European Union strategy 2007–2012 on health and safety at work, as well as drawing on conventions of the International Labour Organization. The plan outlines key priorities and measures, as well as the tasks of the social partners, aiming primarily to reduce the number of occupational accidents by 2012.
13 February 2009: Legality of employment under scrutiny in national labour inspections (Poland / Information update)
In 2008, the Central Labour Inspection published its findings on inspections carried out by the National Labour Inspectorate (PIP). An amendment to the law regulating the operations of the PIP was introduced in 2007, marking a significant year for the inspectorate. The amendment placed a particular emphasis on inspecting the legality of employment, which has emerged has a central priority in its workplace inspections.
19 January 2009: Need for more occupational doctors and wider remit (Lithuania / Information update)
Research has revealed that Lithuania lags significantly behind other EU Member States in terms of the number of occupational doctors practising in the country. In addition, such doctors carry out fewer functions than they should to comply with international standards, with data analysis and consultation on ergonomic issues among the most neglected activities. The study shows that social partners need to have greater awareness regarding the important role and benefits of occupational health.
05 January 2009: Government launches programme for health and safety at work (Latvia / Information update)
The Latvian Ministry of Welfare has announced measures to improve occupational health and safety, which are to be implemented within three years. Adoption of these measures is the first step in the implementation of the Health and Safety Development Programme for 2008–2013; the overall programme is in a process of adaptation. The first step includes five main strands of activity and several support mechanisms that may help companies to improve health and safety.
22 December 2008: Improved health and safety practices at construction sites (Ireland / Information update)
A recent study concluded that the safety performance of construction sites has improved in recent years. The study, published in July 2008, assessed the performance of 20 large construction sites in Ireland. It found a marked improvement in safety training for site operatives, the use of personal protective equipment and the presence of safety representatives on site. A more modest improvement was noted, however, in measures for the protection against falls from heights.
17 July 2008: Health and safety inspections find lack of employee participation (Slovakia / Information update)
Slovakian employers are obliged by law to ensure that employees participate in the management of occupational safety and health. Assessments by the National Labour Inspectorate in 2007 found a number of shortcomings in this area, including a lack of employee involvement and problems concerning the employees’ health and safety representatives. Overall, however, the inspections indicated a gradual increase in employee participation in this regard.
19 May 2008: Downward trend in work-related accidents in 2006 (Hungary / Information update)
The 2006 annual report presented by the minister of social affairs and labour on developments in health and safety at work in Hungary was published in June 2007. The report contains comparative statistical data on occupational accidents. It also examines employers’ experiences concerning the investigation of work-related accidents, the latest developments in research and training, relevant legislation, as well as the results of targeted research and on-the-spot inspections.
17 March 2008: Health and safety deficiencies in hotels and restaurants (Slovakia / Information update)
Inspections carried out in 2007 by the National Labour Inspectorate revealed shortcomings in occupational safety and health in Slovakian hotels and restaurants, mainly concerning technical equipment, the provision of personal protective tools, training and safety management systems. Deficiencies were also found regarding employment contracts, remuneration, and working time and rest periods. In general, however, the situation has improved in the past two to three years.
10 March 2008: Positive work factors can improve health and productivity (Denmark / Information update)
Most research on the work environment has, to date, focused on negative work factors, such as those leading to problems with stress and health. A new report by the National Research Centre for the Working Environment focuses on positive work factors, which can improve employees’ health and productivity. Significant factors include having a high degree of influence in the job, and receiving appreciation and social support, all of which are found to contribute to healthy employees and increased productivity.
04 February 2008: Risk management strategy tackles health and safety problems (Belgium / Information update)
‘SOBANE’ is a health and safety risk management methodology created by a team at the Catholic University of Louvain and promoted by the Ministry of Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue. The method has recently been updated and broadened with new applications in a range of economic sectors. The SOBANE strategy involves the active participation of staff in screening for potential safety risks and finding solutions.
29 January 2008: ‘Inclusive working life’ programme reduces sick leave in companies (Norway / Information update)
‘Inclusive working life’ (IWL) is a Norwegian intervention programme aimed at reducing sick leave and increasing the average retirement age. In 2005, the National Institute of Occupational Health evaluated the programme by examining 86 company cases, with a view to identifying possible success factors. Such factors were found to include integrating IWL within the corporate strategy, enabling employee participation, and availing of occupational health services.
26 November 2007: Decline in occupational illnesses over past 10 years (Romania / Information update)
A recent study published by the Institute for Public Health reveals a decrease in the number of new cases of occupational diseases in Romania. The most common work-related illnesses are silicosis, diseases caused by noise or by inhaling toxic fumes, and asthma. The areas of economic activity reporting the highest incidence of occupational illness are metal and iron ore quarrying and preparation, road transport and metallurgy.
12 November 2007: Retail outlets in breach of health and safety laws (Poland / Information update)
The Polish media recently reported on the flagrant disrespect for the labour rights of persons employed in the retail trade. The majority of the objections related to non-compliance with health and safety legislation, as reflected in the results of investigations carried out by the National Labour Inspectorate in 2006. The inspectors give a number of reasons for the violations found, while employers cite lack of financial resources and overly complicated regulations.
29 October 2007: Situation of workplace health and safety representatives (Malta / Information update)
The General Workers’ Union carried out a study regarding health and safety representatives at different workplaces. The study revealed that representatives get most of their support from the trade union to which they are affiliated. Furthermore, the study indicated that not all representatives receive health and safety training, and that they are not always consulted by management.
09 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders — Cyprus (Cyprus / National Contribution)
This article is Cyprus’s contribution to the comparative analytical report of the European Working Conditions Observatory on the existing situation regarding the impact of work changes on the resurgence of work-related musculoskeletal diseases
08 October 2007: Managing musculoskeletal disorders (TRANS NATIONAL / Comparative analytical report [ or view as size 1030 kb])
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) is the most widespread occupational-related illness in the EU. However, despite this prevalence, there have been few efforts to estimate the overall costs of the illness. Statistics on MSDs tend to underestimate the extent while failing to take the national situation and changing work context into account. Researchers agree that nowadays MSDs which are directly linked to strenuous working conditions are on the decline, while those related to stress and work overload are increasing. Organisational problems can be at the root of MSDs, and a participatory approach to prevention policies has found to be effective.
20 August 2007: New tools to monitor occupational health hazards (France / Information update)
Since 1998, the occupational health department of the French Institute for Health Surveillance has been developing a comprehensive programme of problem-oriented monitoring in relation to health hazards in the workplace. Among a range of sub-programmes, the institute examines the situation with regard to mental health at work. Up to now, little monitoring has taken place in this area.
13 August 2007: New plan to improve workplace health and safety (Poland / Information update)
Plans to adapt Polish practice to the current EU strategy with respect to health and safety at work were formulated in accordance with recommendations issued by the Labour Protection Council endeavour The plans were drafted on the basis of a report commissioned by the Polish government from the Central Institute for Labour Protection. The social partners are now considering the proposals.
06 August 2007: Attitudes of managers towards health and safety at work (Slovenia / Information update)
Managers in Slovenian organisations are, on average, well aware of the importance of employees’ health for the functioning of the organisation, and of the mutual impact of work and health on each other. Female managers are more sensitive to health at work issues than their male counterparts. However, in practice, the majority of managers deal with health and safety issues at work only when required to rather than on a regular basis.
23 July 2007: New strategy to improve health and safety at work (Latvia / Information update)
On 27 March 2007, Latvia’s Ministry of Welfare presented the results of the EU Twinning project on the further development of the occupational health and safety strategy. The project included four components: development of the National Action Plan for the occupational health and safety strategy, strengthening of institutions in the field of occupational health and safety at work, capacity building of the State Labour Inspectorate and enhancing social dialogue.
16 July 2007: New bill on health and safety at work in pipeline (Italy / Information update)
In April 2007, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security presented a bill for a new regulatory text on health and safety at work. The main aims are to coordinate the various public bodies involved, consult with the social partners, simplify the administrative burden and promote a risk prevention approach, including the teaching of basic health and safety principles at school.
05 July 2007: Quality in work and employment — Spain (Spain / National Contribution)
After decades when high unemployment rates were the main problem of the Spanish labour market, nowadays the debate on quality of work in Spain is dominated by the question of temporary employment and how to reduce the excessive proportion of fixed term contracts. These contracts are generally related to deficient working conditions in all the considered domains. Thus a number of measures are being put in practice as a result of a prolonged process of agreement amongst social partners in order to establish a new balance between flexibility and security in employment. Health and safety at work is another subject high on the agenda, with a severe rate of work accidents, in spite of improvements in prevention systems. Also work-life balance is gaining importance within the quality of work scene.
21 May 2007: New code of practice to prevent workplace bullying (Ireland / Information update)
With the incidence of workplace bullying on the increase in Ireland, the Irish government launched a new code of practice on workplace bullying on 4 April 2007. The new code of practice, drawn up by the Health and Safety Authority, provides for the referral of bullying cases to external mediation in the event that internal procedures fail to resolve matters.
21 May 2007: Monitoring chemical risks in the working environment (Slovakia / Information update)
Where employees perform activities which could jeopardise their health due to exposure to chemical substances, employers are obliged by law to implement technical, organisational and other measures which effectively eliminate exposure or at the very least reduce exposure to the lowest possible level. Employers’ obligations in this regard are monitored by the authorities responsible for health protection in cooperation with the authorities of labour inspection.
27 April 2007: Health and safety at work in Greece (Greece / Survey data report [ or view as size 176 kb])
The findings of a 2005 study by the Labour Institute (INE) of the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) and the Confederation of Public Servants (ADEDY) reveal significant problems in Greece as regards the implementation of legislation on health and safety at work. Risk prevention measures and safety and health practices are being ignored, while levels of monitoring are also inadequate. Moreover, many workers and managers are unaware of the relevant legislation, which is outdated and excessively complex in many cases. Infringement of normal working hours and illegal and/or legal overtime, as well as tight deadlines, have increased the levels of accidents in the workplace in recent years. The report recommends financial incentives and penalties, in addition to awareness-raising campaigns, to ensure greater compliance with health and safety legislation.
23 April 2007: Assessment of working conditions at construction and building sites (Slovakia / Information update)
In Slovakia, working conditions in the construction sector are associated with higher risk to the lives and health of employees. The most common hazard for workers in this sector is in the area of mechanical operations. However, workers are also at risk due to improper installation and handling of electrical equipment or the use of building chemicals.
23 March 2007: Integrating health and safety into education and training (Bulgaria / Information update)
During the European week for safety and health at work in October 2006, the Bulgarian government hosted a national conference on the occupational safety and health of young people in the country’s capital city, Sofia. The conference was part of the European health and safety campaign ‘Safe start’, which was dedicated to ensuring young people a safe and healthy start in their working lives. The emphasis was on the need to teach young people about health and safety at work and to foster a culture of risk prevention.
23 March 2007: New work safety code supports return to work after illness or accident (Ireland / Information update)
In 2006, the Workplace Safety Initiative Group, which comprises several employer organisations and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, launched a new safety code for Irish workplaces. The new Workplace Safety Code is supported by several state bodies, including the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Irish employment agency FÁS, the Health and Safety Authority and the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. The purpose of this code is threefold: namely, to prevent accidents at the workplace; to intervene immediately when accidents occur; and to provide any necessary follow-up treatment and support to those affected by occupational accidents or diseases. The latter measure aims to allow the affected employee to return to work in as short a time as possible.
14 March 2007: Decrease in health risks and accidents at the workplace (Poland / Survey data report [ or view as size 191 kb])
Risks to health in the workplace and occupational accidents and diseases have declined significantly in Poland in the 15 years from 1991 to 2005. Nevertheless, there are still a number of risk factors prevailing, with certain sectors being particularly vulnerable. At least 12% of the workforce is working under hazardous conditions and the total is probably even higher, as no data are available for privately owned farms and for enterprises with fewer than 10 employees: these are thought to be among the high risk categories. Due to the surplus of labour supply available, some employers put a high priority on competitiveness and disregard the issue of safety. However, there are signs that this situation is changing, at least in some sectors. The Central Statistical Office survey for 2005 also gathered data on risk prevention.
13 March 2007: Survey highlights rise in psychosocial demands at work (Denmark / Survey data report [ or view as size 369 kb])
The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, formerly the National Institute of Occupational Health, has conducted the fourth Danish Work Environment Cohort Study (DWECS) covering the five-year period 2000–2005. The 2005 results indicate no clear trend of overall better or worse conditions for workers. Nevertheless, an increase in psychosocial demands at the workplace has been identified, such as a high pace of work, a demanding workload and emotional demands. Conversely, the study also reveals increases in decision latitude, better future prospects in the job and more support for workers from superiors. However, considerable differences among workers persist in relation to jobs, sectors and gender.
12 February 2007: High levels of stress among sales workers and cashiers (Cyprus / Information update)
In July 2006, the Cyprus Workers’ Confederation (SEK) published a study on the subject of workplace health and safety, and the balance that women manage to achieve between family and working life. The study focused on women who are employed as sales workers, cashiers or clerks. Overall, one third of the women surveyed were not familiar with health and safety legislation, although an increased proportion of the women were aware of legislation regarding pregnancy and maternity leave. Significant obstacles remain in relation to reconciling work and family life.
12 February 2007: Low level of compliance with screen safety regulations (Slovakia / Information update)
In 2005, the National Labour Inspectorate carried out a nationwide survey to investigate compliance with regulations on the use of visual display units in the workplace and provide guidelines in relation to this. The results have since been published and reveal an unsatisfactory level of compliance with the minimum safety and health requirements for work with computer screens, despite significant efforts to improve health and safety in this area.
05 February 2007: Inadequate protection against workplace noise (Slovakia / Information update)
Noise is among the most common risk factors in the working environment. The main sources of noise are machines, technical equipment and technological processes; however, noise also present in manual work, and in device and materials handling. In 2005, the National Labour Inspectorate undertook several initiatives within the framework of a campaign aimed at the protection of employees. Among other aspects, the inspection examined noise at the workplace and its elimination.
23 January 2007: EU campaign to raise awareness of dangers of asbestos (EU Level / Information update)
Asbestos-contaminated products and buildings continue to represent a dangerous hazard to EU citizens, costing the lives of many people. In addition to passing legislation banning the use and handling of this deadly fibre, the EU is running a campaign to remind people of the risks associated with exposure to asbestos. The campaign forms part of a concerted effort to identify and safely dispose of asbestos.
27 November 2006: Increase in occupational accidents and illnesses (Ireland / Information update)
The Irish Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has published a detailed statistical report ‘Summary of fatality, injury and illness statistics 2004–2005’, which provides a statistical portrait of the numbers, types and causes of occupational injuries and illnesses in Ireland. Among the key findings of the report are that the number of people killed in workplace accidents increased by almost 50% between 2004 and 2005, while back injuries are the most common result of accidents. Particular risk groups have been identified and the HSA has issued a series of targeted risk alerts as part of an action programme to address the high number of accidents and fatalities.
27 November 2006: Code of Practice on work safety in agriculture (Ireland / Information update)
The Irish Health and Safety Authority has published a Code of Practice which provides practical guidance to farmers and others working in the agricultural sector on how to avoid occupational injuries and illnesses. The farmyard has traditionally been regarded as one of the two most dangerous types of workplaces in Ireland, with over 3,000 accidents occurring each year.
20 November 2006: First national study on working conditions (Latvia / Information update)
With financial assistance from the European Union Social Fund, the Ministry of Welfare has commissioned the first-ever study on working conditions in Latvia. The study aims to gather information on work safety and to develop recommendations for improving the legal framework regulating this field in order to improve working conditions and the working environment in Latvian companies. The research focuses on two main fields – legal employment relations and the working environment – and examines the relation between both areas. The research results will be available at the beginning of 2007.
20 November 2006: Workplace health project wins innovation award (Ireland / Information update)
The Irish Ministry for Health decided to target the workplace in order to promote health and well-being among citizens. A health project was subsequently set up in County Roscommon among small and medium-sized companies. It included a survey of existing workplace health policies and a pilot project aimed at developing better support services. The project received a Health Services Executive innovation award on 11 October 2006.
13 November 2006: Attitudes towards work safety regulations and employment relations (Latvia / Information update)
Less than half of Latvian workers and 81% of employers consider that they are aware of the legal aspects of employment relations. Some 79% of employers interviewed are aware of work safety issues, but only 14% consider themselves to be very well informed in this area. Overall, 30% of the employers interviewed admit that work safety regulations under Latvian labour legislation are difficult to comply with. These findings, among others, are the conclusions of the public opinion study on the operation of the State Labour Inspectorate, carried out in 2005.
13 November 2006: High level of health and safety violations in construction (Bulgaria / Information update)
On 7 August 2006, the Executive Agency of the General Labour Inspectorate in Bulgaria reported on the findings of the recent national campaign on ‘Health and safety and labour relations in the construction sector’. Within the framework of the campaign, some 2,452 onsite inspections were carried out. The labour inspectors registered 16,280 offences at work sites against health and safety legislation and the Labour Code. A total of 15,778 warrants were issued to employers and 1,462 statements have been drawn up.
06 November 2006: Bonuses for hazardous working conditions still prevalent (Czech Republic / Information update)
Legislation in the Czech Republic entitles employees to receive risk bonuses for work that is dangerous or that poses a risk to their health. The law explicitly allows for the determination of further bonus amounts under a collective agreement. This practice is widely used and consequently increases the financial attractiveness of jobs with difficult and hazardous working conditions.
02 October 2006: Labour Inspectorate targets health and safety at work (Romania / Information update)
During the first half of 2006, the Office of the Labour Inspectorate carried out a risk prevention monitoring programme to check compliance with workplace health and safety regulations. The resulting report indicates that the office is carrying out more control actions, reflecting a 30% increase in such measures compared with the previous year. In addition, the inspectorate imposed fines totalling a value 3.6 times greater than previously. The report also details the organisational, technical, and health and hygiene deficiencies frequently found in companies.
02 October 2006: Workers still exposed to hazardous risks in the workplace (Poland / Information update)
A report on working conditions recently published by the Polish Central Statistical Office presents a comprehensive analysis of the risks faced by employees in the workplace in 2005. The research indicates that some 12% of Polish employees work in hazardous conditions, which means that the scale of the problem has remained practically unchanged over the past few years. Some 20% of the employees working in such risky conditions are women. Of all the employees at risk in the workplace, the largest group was exposed to risks associated with the working environment, such as chemical substances, noise or unsuitable lighting.
19 September 2006: Downward trend in number of workplace accidents (Romania / Information update)
In 2005, the number of persons involved in workplace accidents in Romania totalled 4,714, which continues the downward trend recorded from 2002 to 2005. The highest incidence of accidents continues to occur in the mining industry. Nevertheless, despite declining trends, the number of collective accidents and of employees affected by these categories of accidents has tended to increase.
19 September 2006: Commission to adopt new occupational health and safety strategy (EU Level / Information update)
The European Commission will soon unveil its proposals for a future health and safety regime appropriate to an enlarged Europe. Within the debate on the future direction of occupational health and safety, Europe’s trade unions are calling for a new strategy that is firmly supported by legislation. Employers, however, are arguing for a move away from the belief that legislation is the only valid means of dealing with occupational health and safety. Conditions at work are heavily dependent on the existence of well-structured health and safety practices. Major occupational health and safety challenges remain, including musculoskeletal disorders and the health and safety risks associated with working with chemicals.
04 August 2006: Employees’ attitudes towards health and safety at work (Slovakia / Information update)
In 2004, a survey of employees’ attitudes towards improving occupational safety and health (OSH) was carried out in Slovakia. The findings reveal employees’ attitudes towards OSH and their desire for decent working conditions. The survey results provide a useful reference in preparing proposals and recommendations for increasing public awareness of and provoking interest in OSH.
18 July 2006: Health and safety risks of employees in health and social services institutions (Slovakia / Information update)
A survey conducted by the Occupational Safety Research and Educational Institute looks into the safety levels of working conditions in institutions providing health and social services. The results of the survey provide an insight into the specific working conditions of employees in these institutions and identify ways to promote a safer working environment. Based on the survey’s results, measures to improve working conditions in health and social services institutions have been proposed.
24 March 2006: Workplace legislation in small and medium-sized enterprises (Germany / Information update)
A report on the implementation of workplace legislation, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), offers suggestions for reorganising legal regulations and for special measures to help companies to comply with the law.
09 January 2006: Hazardous workplaces (Hungary / Information update)
Work safety inspectors carry out regular assessments of company premises in Hungary. When they find any kind of offence against the Labour Protection Act, they impose a penalty. The sum accumulated from these fines will be distributed among those who successfully tender to implement work safety improvement measures.
28 November 2005: Noise in the workplace (France / Information update)
Almost 7% of French employees are exposed to hazardous noise levels. A further 25% are subjected to other types of noise, less harmful in terms of health but which have some adverse effects, nonetheless.
07 November 2005: Green light for occupational safety (Hungary / Information update)
Many Hungarian employers are not adhering to occupational safety regulations, not because they do not want to do so or even due to financial reasons, but simply because they do not know the rules. This is the finding of occupational safety inspectors. The Labour Safety Act states that enterprises must employ an occupational safety specialist but many employers are unaware of this. The occupational safety information service provides details of the relevant regulations.
14 September 2005: Improved working conditions due to tougher inspection measures (Bulgaria / Information update)
Some positive trends have recently been reported in relation to working conditions in Bulgaria. Such trends have largely been attributed to intensified enforcement measures taken by the General Labour Inspectorate. In 2004, for example, the Inspectorate closed 1,611 enterprises and imposed total fines of about three million BGN (c. €1.54 million).
09 September 2005: Organisational change influences working conditions (EU Level / Information update)
Work organisation impacts on working conditions and health. The majority of workers are affected by organisational change. Differences are evident between clusters of organisation, patterns of organisational change, and groups of workers.
15 July 2005: Managing occupational disability (Austria / Information update)
Reduced working efficiency due to severe health problems still poses a major employment risk. Employers either show no interest in staff ill-health or do not know how to deal with it. These are the main findings of a study analysing the employment situation of people who have retired on the grounds of occupational disability.
27 June 2005: Breaches of working conditions regulations (Bulgaria / Information update)
During a nationwide campaign carried out in late 2004, the Bulgarian General Labour Inspectorate identified 7,316 cases of labour law infringements, of which almost 70% concern health and safety in working conditions.
09 March 2005: Health risks of physically strenuous work (Austria / Information update)
Working conditions in certain sectors can lead to serious health problems among employees. Among those working in physically strenuous jobs, these problems manifest themselves in higher invalidity rates and a lower life expectancy. In light of recent pension reforms in Europe, which aim at raising the retirement age, the findings of a study on the construction industry are particularly relevant.
23 February 2005: Weaknesses in safety, hygiene and health at work (Portugal / Information update)
According to a working conditions survey of 2,500 Portuguese workers, there are significant weaknesses in safety, hygiene and health measures in the workplace. Among the causes are lack of motivation due to low wages, a disregard for protective equipment, and a low level of worker participation in risk prevention procedures.
13 December 2004: Preventing sick leave during pregnancy (Denmark / Information update)
In September 2004, a national health promotion campaign was launched to encourage women to remain longer in work during pregnancy. The aim is to reduce levels of sick leave by facilitating women, doctors and employers in coming together to adjust working conditions appropriately.
08 December 2004: Preventive health measures in France (France / Information update)
Preventive measures for certain occupational illnesses have been established as a priority by the French government. These include cancers and illness as a result of exposure to asbestos. However, so far, progress has been slow due to economic, technical and sociological reasons.
29 November 2004: Fifth National Survey on Working Conditions, Spain (Spain / Survey data report [ or view as size 104 kb])
The results of the Fifth National Survey on Working Conditions reveal an improvement in the risk preventive systems used by Spanish businesses. However, working conditions seem to have slightly disimproved, according to workers’ self-assessment of their own conditions. This trend has had negative health outcomes.
19 April 2004: Gender issues in health and safety at work (EU Level / Information update)
Gender differences in working conditions have to be taken into account in order to assess real occupational health risks and work-related accidents, and to develop strategies towards effective prevention.
08 March 2004: Systematic work environment management in Sweden (Sweden / Information update)
Systematic work environment management is being used in 40% of Swedish workplaces, according to a report by the Swedish Work Environment Authority. This system, which came into force in July 2001, is designed to incorporate work environment management as an integral part of everyday work.
17 February 2004: Impact of musculo-skeletal injuries in the workplace (France / Information update)
The economic costs of musculo-skeletal injuries in the workplace are a major concern for companies. A French study finds that preventive action can save money. To be effective, however, such action needs to take into account many wide-ranging issues in the working environment.
17 February 2004: Impact des troubles musculo-squelettiques (TMS) sur le lieu du travail (France / Information update)
Les coûts des troubles musculo-squelettiques sur le lieu du travail sont une préoccupation importante pour les entreprises Une étude française a trouvé que la prévention peut réduire les coûts. Cependant pour être efficaces les actions de prévention doivent tenir compte de toute une série de questions dans l’environnement du travail.
19 December 2003: New law on the prevention of work-related accidents approved (Spain / Information update)
The new law on the reform of the legal framework concerning the prevention of work-related accidents has received the support of the main political parties and social partners in Spain. The main goal is to reduce the number of accidents occurring in the workplace.
16 October 2003: New Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work to assist Commission (EU Level / Information update)
The Council of the European Union has decided to set up an Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work. As a standing body, the advisory committee will assist the Commission in the preparation and implementation of activities in the area of safety and health at work. It will facilitate cooperation between national administrations, trade unions and employers’ organisations.