EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life
Workplace health promotion
The largest single research programme ever to take place in Europe on the promotion of health in the workplace was undertaken by the Foundation during the 1990s. It led to the development of a training specification for workplace health promotion and a widely-used training manual.
There is an increased focus on preventative activities and a relative reduction in the prevalence of traditional health and safety hazards. Other workplace and labour market changes pose different problems, such as the pressures that absenteeism may put on the general health of all employees. A related issue concerns the reintegration of workers with health problems into the workforce.
These drivers for change are having a major influence on a range of different policy areas, not only in relation to health policy. Such policy areas include social insurance, education and vocational training, labour market policy and economic and regional development.
The Council of the European Union set up an Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work to assist the Commission in the preparation and implementation of activities in the area of safety and health at work. Its role is to facilitate cooperation between national administrations, trade unions and employers’ organisations.
Economic incentives an alternative to legislation?
How can employers be motivated to improve standards of health and safety without the need for ever more stringent legislation? One answer may lie in economic incentives. Previous Foundation research analysed information in this area drawing on an international study of economic incentive schemes.