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evaluation of the european strategy on safety and health at work ...

evaluation of the european strategy on safety and health at work ...

EVALUATION OF THE

EVALUATION OF THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY ON SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK 2007-20121636.2.3 The impact ong>ofong> ong>theong> economic situation anddemographic changeBoth reports acknowledged ong>theong> key drivers, in particular those ong>ofong> demographicchange and ong>theong> economic situation within ong>theong> EU-27. These would haveconsiderable impact on ong>theong> employment picture and, as a result, occupationalhealth and safety risks in ong>theong> immediate future.One over-arching area ong>ofong> concern is likely to be reflected in ong>theong> increasedsusceptibility and vulnerability ong>ofong> those in micro-businesses and ong>theong> self-employed,both ong>ofong> which increase in number in times ong>ofong> economic uncertainty andimmediately ong>theong>reafter. For example, concerns have been expressed regarding ong>theong>irexposure to chemical hazards. Similar concerns are likely to emerge in ong>theong> field ong>ofong>nanomaterials as applications ong>ofong> ong>theong> technologies involved grow.There is likely ong>theong>refore to be an increasing requirement for attention to ong>theong> healthand safety needs ong>ofong> ong>theong> self-employed and those in micro-businesses.The ongoing period ong>ofong> economic uncertainty will lead to an increase in ong>theong>potential impact ong>ofong> factors identified in ong>theong>se reviews such as ong>theong> job insecurityrelated to unstable labour markets and precarious contracts. In particular, this islikely to lead to an increase in factors likely to lead to stress or poor mentalwellbeing at work, such as:› Work intensification and high demands at work;› Violence and harassment at work;› Disruption ong>ofong> work-life balance.It is clear ong>theong>refore that psychosocial risks are likely to remain ong>ofong> particularsignificance for ong>theong> immediate future.6.2.4 Vulnerable groups ong>ofong> workersThe period covered by ong>theong> previous ong>strategyong> has seen considerable interest invulnerable groups ong>ofong> workers (e.g. migrant, illegal, and precarious workers) andong>theong> current economic environment is likely to see a continuing and increasedemphasis on ong>theong>m and ong>theong>ir problems, which ong>ofong>ten reflect ong>theong>ir position towards ong>theong>bottom ong>ofong> ong>theong> labour market.Migrant workers in particular have been singled out for emphasis in interviewswith a number ong>ofong> EU Institutions (e.g. Eurong>ofong>ound), as well as ong>theong> ACSH,expressing a view that such employees, especially those who are working illegally,face particular challenges. Data from Norway 188 has shown that ong>theong> number ong>ofong>immigrant workers is increasing and that ong>theong>y are at a greater risk ong>ofong> occupationalaccidents than ong>theong>ir Norwegian counterparts. It is likely that this pattern will bereflected in oong>theong>r Member States. However, although Eurostat data provides a188 http://www.eurong>ofong>ound.europa.eu/ewco/2009/07/NO0907019I.htmhttp://projects.cowiportal.com/ps/A019055/Documents/3 Project documents/Interim and final report/Final report October 2012/OSH ong>evaluationong>-report_Final_submitted 14 March2013.docx

164 EVALUATION OF THE EUREVALUATION OF THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY ON SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK 2007-2012164reasonable overview ong>ofong> ong>theong> ong>ofong>ficial picture relating to both first and secondgeneration migrants 189 , ong>theong>re are concerns that this might give an incompletepicture because ong>ofong> ong>theong> non-inclusion ong>ofong> illegal migrants.Demographic pressures to increase ong>theong> proportion ong>ofong> female and older workers inwork will lead to an increased emphasis on ong>theong>ir health and safety problems. Oneaspect not always considered will be ong>theong> interactions between ong>theong>se pressures andwider social pressures. For example, in some countries a potential conflict can beanticipated between ong>theong> need to provide care for elderly dependents (a roletraditionally met by older females) with pressures to become employed or toremain in employment for longer.Changing demographics will see an increased emphasis on older workers. Areview, published by ong>theong> United Kingdom-based Institute ong>ofong> Occupational Safetyand Health, identified that ong>theong>re were a number ong>ofong> age-related physical andpsychological changes with ageing which could have a bearing on health and safetyat work. The report concluded that occupational health interventions can reduce ong>theong>risk ong>ofong> early retirement and sickness absence but that ong>theong>re was a clear need formore in-depth analysis ong>ofong> accidents, rehabilitation and return to work for olderworkers 190 .Demographic trends mean that ong>theong> needs ong>ofong> older workers, in particular olderfemales, will be a priority in ong>theong> immediate future.6.2.5 The integration ong>ofong> occupational health with widerhealth issues and health promotionOne ong>theong>me addressed by this report, which reflects some existing thinking withinong>theong> EU (section 4.5.1), is ong>theong> need for better integration ong>ofong> occupational health withwider health issues. This can be seen in ong>theong> issues ong>ofong> integrating health promotioninto ong>theong> workplace and in developing better procedures for accommodating ong>theong>health needs and limitations ong>ofong> older workers. In part, this is driven by ong>theong> growingtendency for what are seen as occupational health problems to actually bemultifactorial, with both work and non-work contributory factors. Musculoskeletaldisorders and workplace stress are two good examples ong>ofong> this. It is impracticablefor examples, to differentiate between public concerns about sedentary lifestylesand a lack ong>ofong> leisure physical activity and ong>theong> growing recognition ong>ofong> ong>theong>contribution ong>ofong> sedentary working practices to musculoskeletal symptoms.Similarly, change and uncertainty on ong>theong> domestic front can be equally as stressfulas ong>theong> same issues in ong>theong> workplace.189 Migrants in Europe: A statistical portrait ong>ofong> ong>theong> first and second generation. Eurostat2011.190 The health, safety and health promotion needs ong>ofong> older workers. An evidence-basedreview and guidance. 2009, IOSH Research Report 09.04.http://projects.cowiportal.com/ps/A019055/Documents/3 Project documents/Interim and final report/Final report October 2012/OSH ong>evaluationong>report_Final_submitted14 March 2013.docx

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