European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Health & Safety

23% of European workers believe that their safety or their health is at risk because of their work – a figure which shows that working conditions in Europe are not improving. And even though manufacturing employment across Europe is shrinking and losing ground to service jobs, exposure to traditional physical hazards - noise, dangerous goods, heavy lifting, etc. – has not gone away.

Along with this, a growing number of workers are complaining of the effect their work is having on their psychological health. Ill-being at work can end in tragedy, as evidenced by the wave of suicides that has affected some big French companies in recent years.

New forms of work organization and the increasing time-pressure of work may be partly behind the persistence of traditional risks and the emergence of new ones in firms. Trade unions believe that work intensification is the main cause of the work-related stress and musculoskeletal disorders now seen to be affecting more than one in five workers.

While these may be problems in all countries, industries and occupations, it is clear that the lowest-skilled and manual workers are bearing the brunt. The healthy life expectancy of a 35-year-old manual worker in France, for example, is ten years less than that of a manager. As the talk in many EU member countries turns towards staying working longer, a debate on working conditions and their impact on workers’ health is a must. We are stepping into that debate through the following topic studies.


Belgique : inquiétante augmentation des cas de burnout parmi les trentenaires

1 December 2016

Le nombre de trentenaires en congé maladie depuis au moins un an a augmenté de 20 % en une année, d'après les chiffres de Securex. Cette société, qui gère les ressources humaines de plus de 80.000 entreprises en Belgique, estime qu'il s'agit d'une conséquence de l'augmentation du phénomène du burnout. La publication de ces chiffres dans la presse intervient quelques jours après que le gouvernement fédéral a annoncé sa volonté de prendre des mesures afin de faciliter le retour au travail des malades de longue durée.

Un livre pour mieux comprendre les inégalités sociales face au cancer

30 November 2016

Les éditions La Découverte ont récemment publié un fort intéressant petit livre traitant de l'histoire et de la sociologie du cancer. Synthétique, très documenté et très bien structuré, l'ouvrage d'une petite centaine de pages décrit les représentations sociales de cette maladie et leurs évolutions au cours du temps.

Perturbateurs endocriniens : des scientifiques dénoncent la "manipulation de la science"

30 November 2016

Dans une tribune parue dans l'édition datée du 30 novembre du quotidien Le Monde, quelque cent scientifiques dénoncent les stratégies de l'industrie chimique en vue d'influencer la législation européenne sur les perturbateurs endocriniens.

European Working Conditions Survey 2015: a few interesting trends in health at work

28 November 2016

On 17 November, the overview report of the latest edition of the European Working Conditions Survey was launched at an event held at the European Parliament in Brussels. The report includes some useful data on changes in European workers’ health.

Spanish chambermaids resort to medication in order to do their jobs

25 November 2016

According to a joint survey by the Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), 71.5% of Spanish chambermaids are forced to take medication in order to be able to do their jobs.


    Health and safety at work: Esther Lynch (ETUC) on priorities and gender challenges


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