In this special report, the European Trade Union Institute looks to identify the main factors that are undermining occupational health services in Europe: shortage of specialists, overwork that undermines the quality of services, loss of direct contact with actual working conditions, feeling of being forsaken, commercialism of health and safety at work services, etc.

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Editorial - A surrogate strategy

The old Workers’ Hall in central Copenhagen has been turned into a museum. It traces the history of the Danish labour movement through the changing daily lives of workers in a journey of the senses through reconstructed apartments chronicling the way many generations of workers have lived since the late 19th century. Visitors can, for instance, buy... Find out more

Women and men: growing old working in an unequal world

European policies have steadily whittled down the idea of active aging to an aim of working longer. But exhortations to delay retirement disregard the unequal abilities of older workers. Specifically, they obscure the inequalities between women and men derived not only from segregation in employment but also the unequal division of daily tasks... Find out more

Wim van Veelen

Occupational health in the face of the commercialisation of preventive services

While the 1989 Framework Directive on safety and health at work provides that all EU workers should have access to workplace protective and preventive services, EU law gives Member States wide discretion in how they organize their occupational health system. This makes the EU map of occupational health services very much a patchwork quilt. Europe... Find out more

Occupational health services in the EU: mapping the provision

Representatives of trade unions and associations of occupational physician from various EU countries met at gatherings organized by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) between 2011 and 2013 to compare national occupational health service set-ups. EU law (the 1989 Framework Directive on safety and health at work) refers to workplace protective... Find out more

Denis Grégoire

Occupational health doctors in France: an endangered species

Wearied by never-ending reforms, swamped by a soaring workload and ever-expanding duties, undermined by lack of recognition of their speciality by society, the state and the wider medical community, occupational doctors, especially younger medics, may start looking for a change of career. "Some colleagues I’ve talked to say, The reform is a worry... Find out more

Pien Heuts

"The independence of workplace health services is on the line"

“We need to look after our workers more”, opines work and health expert Frank Van Dijk. The commercialism of health and safety at work services has undermined occupational medicine thinks this ardent believer in a more humane work environment. He is freshly back from Peru, where he was sent by the University of Munich to train researchers surveying... Find out more

Angelo Ferracuti

"Isolation is killing people". One day in the life of an occupational doctor

The scion of a family of doctors, and with an industrial hygienist for a father, Roberto Calisti’s choice of occupational medicine was almost an act of bravado. Family history aside, his hopes for society were what mostly drove him to his calling and nurtured an unflagging passion for his work. HesaMag joined him for a day, going from his... Find out more

Břetislav Olšer

Support for occupational medicine in the Czech Republic is six times lower than in Germany

The Czech Republic has the longest-established tradition of occupational health in Eastern Europe. The beginnings of health care for workers can be traced to the development of the ore-mining industry. Occupational medicine as a special branch began to develop in the 1930s and flourished in the communist era. With the transition to capitalism... Find out more

Rob Edwards

Occupational nursing in the UK: preventing illness, promoting health and reducing absence

The first occupational health nurse was recruited in 1878 to work at the Coleman’s mustard factory in Norwich. Part of her job was to visit sick workers in their homes in the afternoons. There are today some 3 000 occupational nurses in the United Kingdom. While the nature of their duties has evolved considerably over the years, the profession’s... Find out more

Nolwenn Weiler

Nantes/Saint-Nazaire dockers battle for health

Up to 200 of them spend their days unloading the thousands of tonnes of cargo shipped into the French port of Nantes/Saint-Nazaire. It’s a hard job, and while they now run fewer physical risks, dockers are today exposed to the “soup” of chemicals that impregnate cargoes. Wearied of seeing friends struck down by cancers, they have set going a... Find out more

Silvana Cappuccio

Rana Plaza: international community must keep up the pressure

More than a year on from the Rana Plaza tragedy – the textile industry’s worstever disaster – most of the top Western clothing brands have pledged to improve workshop safety. But with no real progress in trade union freedoms, Bangladeshi workers will struggle to enforce their right to dignity. Commemorations were held the world over on 24 April... Find out more

Denis Grégoire

Han Dongfang: from Tiananmen hero to modest workers’ champion

Don’t, whatever you do, call him a dissident. Hero of Tiananmen Square he may be, but he won’t be labelled that way – too intellectual, too highbrow. Han Dongfang always remembers that before the spring 1989 protests he was a railway worker. And who with a name like Dongfang – meaning "the East" in reference to The East is Red, China’s anthem... Find out more

A spotlight on the dark holds of the world economy

The sea holds an endless fascination. It has brought humans from different lands into contact for millennia. It is also a dangerous place where imaginary denizens of the deep like sea-monsters and mermaids have long lurked. The global structure of present-day capitalism is heavily underpinned by sea transport. Around 2 500 billion tonnes of goods... Find out more

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Occupational health services in need of emergency care