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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 2007-2012165There is a continuing need for ong>theong> integration ong>ofong> occupational health into ong>theong> widerhealth sphere, encouraging awareness ong>ofong> ong>theong> potential benefits to both employeesand employers ong>ofong> healthy lifestyle choices.6.2.6 Rehabilitation and ong>theong> accommodation ong>ofong> age-relatedchangeMusculoskeletal disorders are likely to remain a significant issue amongst ong>theong> EU-27 workforce. However, as well as ongoing efforts aimed at ong>theong> prevention ong>ofong>injury, attention should also be paid to ong>theong> better rehabilitation ong>ofong> those wiong>theong>xisting or degenerative disorders where efforts will be needed to enable ong>theong>m toremain in productive work. There is clear evidence that some musculoskeletaldisorders are part ong>ofong> ong>theong> inevitable process ong>ofong> age-related degenerative change.6.2.7 Revisions to existing challengesAs stated above (6.2.2) it is anticipated that some health problems and risks ong>ofong>current major concern (e.g. musculoskeletal disorders and workplace stress) willcontinue to be significant concerns for ong>theong> immediate future. As well as ong>theong>influence ong>ofong> demographic change, one contributory element to this is likely to bechanges in ong>theong> nature ong>ofong> some types ong>ofong> work leading to an increased risk potential.Specifically, advances in ICT and pressures to reduce ong>theong> emissions ong>ofong> greenhousegases associated with travel will see a growing reliance on homeworking. As aresult, unless adequate control measures are introduced, employers will have lesscontrol over ong>theong> workplaces ong>ofong> those using computers for work, with a consequentincreased risk ong>ofong> MSDs. In addition, ong>theong>re is a risk that homeworking will tend toincrease ong>theong> isolation ong>ofong> workers 191 , removing traditional avenues ong>ofong> social supportfrom peers etc.Again, without suitable controls, some risk factors for workplace stress couldincrease with a concomitant disturbance ong>ofong> work-life balance, although ong>theong>evidence seems to be mixed, some suggesting a positive outcome from such workwith oong>theong>r researchers suggesting more adverse effects 192 193 194 . PEROSH, forexample, warn ong>ofong> ong>theong> risk that ong>theong> increasing blurring between work and homemight result in an increase in mental pressures and a poorer work-life balance 195 .191 Crosbie T, Moore J (2005) Work–life balance and working from home. Social Policy &Society 3:3, 223–233192 Hill EJ, Miller BC, Weiner SP, Colihan J (1998) Influences ong>ofong> ong>theong> virtual ong>ofong>fice onaspects ong>ofong> work and work/life balance. Personnel Psychology, 51: 667–683.193 Perrons D (2003) The new economy and ong>theong> work–life balance: conceptual explorationsand a case study ong>ofong> new media. Gender, Work and Organization. 10: 65-93194 Bloom N, Liang J, Roberts J, Ying ZY, (2012) Does working from home work?Evidence from a Chinese experiment. http://www.stanford.edu/~nbloom/WFH.pdf195 Working environment challenges for ong>theong> future, 2009, PEROSH.http://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

166 EVALUATION OF THE EUREVALUATION OF THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY ON SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK 2007-20121666.2.8 New and emerging risksIn addition to existing challenges ong>theong>re will always be a need for horizon scanningand for ong>theong> identification ong>ofong> ong>theong> health and safety challenges ong>ofong> new or emergenttechnologies. Concerns have already been expressed over areas such asnanomaterials (substances such as nanomolecules and nanong>ofong>ibres as well asnanoparticles); endocrine disruptors and electromagnetic field (EMF) hazards.Related to ong>theong> latter is likely to be an increasing exposure to this (and oong>theong>r) risksarising from ong>theong> fragmentation ong>ofong> electricity generation, with a move away fromrelatively few large-scale generators (using ‘old’ technologies), towards more,smaller centres harnessing sustainable energy resources.Risks associated with new (green) technologies (such as more employees exposedto EMFs at work) will require a particular focus. The EU-OSHA Foresightinitiative on new and emerging risks has identified eight technologies/technologicalapplications where ong>theong>re is a need to explore in more depth ong>theong> developments ong>ofong>ong>theong>se technologies and how ong>theong>y may create emerging risks to workers’ safety andhealth. 196› Waste and Recycling Technologies;› Green construction Technologies (Buildings);› Green transport Technologies;› Bioenergy and ong>theong> energy applications ong>ofong> biotechnology;› Green manufacturing Technologies and processes/Robotics and Automation;› Electricity Transmission and Storage 1;› Electricity Transmission and Storage 2;› Wind Energy.Especially in ong>theong> more souong>theong>rly EU member states, global warming will be aparticular natural hazard ong>ofong> concern, especially with respect to those who workoutdoors, who will be at increased risk from threats such as UV-exposure and heatstress.The field ong>ofong> nanotechnology provides an example ong>ofong> how ong>theong> risks associated witha new and emerging technology can be carefully observed and monitored. Currentrevisions ong>ofong> REACH are understood to be reflecting on how its provisions can beadapted to better accommodate ong>theong> challenges presented by ong>theong> unique chemicaland biological effects such materials can have. However, care should be taken toavoid any sense ong>ofong> complacency. As nanotechnologies move from innovation tomainstream so ong>theong> potential for risk will increase and change.Oong>theong>r emergent technologies such as ong>theong> wider application ong>ofong> genetic engineeringand synong>theong>tic biology remain as challenges and no doubt each will present its ownhazards and risks. The experiences from building-in risk-assessment as an integral196 EU-OSHA ERO (2011) Foresight ong>ofong> new and emerging risks to occupational safety andhealth associated with new technologies in green jobs by 2020. Phase II key technologies.(http://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/reports/foresight-green-jobs-key-technologies)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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