European Safety and Health Week is an ideal opportunity for public authorities, private companies and citizens to get involved in promoting safer and healthier workplaces. The European Safety and Health Week is coordinated by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and is organised in more than 30 countries across Europe.
The main objectives of the week are to:
- Promote sustainable work and healthy ageing from the beginning of working life
- Highlight the importance of prevention throughout working life
- Assist employers and workers (including SMEs) by providing information and tools for managing occupational safety and health (OSH) in the context of an ageing workforce
- Facilitate information exchange and good practice
It is important that work is good for people's health provided that working conditions are decent. It is recognised that long-term sick leave can lead to mental health issues. Health issues are the most common reason for leaving workforce early. It is therefore important to help people with health problems remain in work through rehabilitation.
Details of events taking place across Europe can be found here.
Healthy Workplaces for All Ages Campaign:
Europe’s workforce is ageing leading to longer working lives. As people work for longer, management of OSH for an ageing workforce has become a priority. Increasing employment levels and prolonging people’s working lives have been important objectives of national and European policies since the late 1990s.
It is vital that the correct age-sensitive risk assessments are implemented. This means taking into account age-related characteristics of different age groups when assessing risks, including potential changes in functional capacities and health status.
Risks relevant to older workers in particular include:
- Heavy physical workload
- Hazards related to shift work
- Hot, cold or noisy work environments
Within the next two decades, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) argues, the number of people in the European workforce aged between 55-64 will increase by one third, growing from 15% to 20%. This in turn could cause big issues.
The management of OSH in the context of an ageing workforce requires a multidisciplinary approach:
- Health in later life is affected by working conditions in earlier life
- Prevention of work-related accidents, health problems and occupational diseases is needed throughout working life
- Holistic approaches including:
- work environment and organisation
- training and lifelong learning
- work–life balance
- career development
Challenges are also arising from demographic change including general labour shortages, shortages of skilled workers, more people at work with health problems/chronic diseases as well as concerns about productivity and absenteeism at work.
Go Home Healthy Campaign:
HSE have launched the 'Go Home Healthy' campaign to promote the message that everyone should go home healthy from work. HSE are encouraging employers to do the right thing by protecting their workers' health. Check out the HSE promotional video here for further details on how this can be achieved.
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