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13 January 2017

News issue of HesaMag: Labour inspection, a public service in crisis

The articles published in the latest issue of HesaMag, the ETUI half-yearly publication on occupational health, are now online. The issue contains a special feature on labour inspection in Europe.

Labour inspection services across Europe have been going through an existential crisis. With few exceptions, workforces have been reduced while inspectors have been assigned more extensive duties. Faced with these transformations in the world of work – most notably, the “digitalisation of the economy” – and with the emergence of new risks such as nanotechnologies, psychosocial risks, etc., the sheer scale of their mission can leave labour inspectors feeling powerless. This is a mission, moreover, that is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfil in a context of hostility towards state regulation and monitoring of companies.

Confronted with the changing nature of their mission and lacking political and public support, labour inspectors sometimes feel that they are walking a tightrope. It is becoming increasingly difficult for them to find the right balance between upholding their image of impartial civil servants and working to serve the needs of society – for many of them a deeply sincere endeavour.

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