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16/11/2009

Travelling is enriching!

Jukka Takala

Travelling is enriching!  In recent weeks, I have had a fair amount of contacts and missions in Europe and here’s a round-up of some interesting discoveries...

1. The Swedish Minister Mr. Sven Otto Littorin said in his opening address to the Swedish Presidency Conference on Labour Market Exclusion that every third worker in Sweden is more or less permanently out of the labour market. The major reasons are the ones we know: psychosocial factors, stress, depression, and musculoskeletal disorders. I had cautiously estimated 25% only. With a proper management system in the organisation, company, hospital, municipality etc. this could be radically reduced. More pictures by Bernd Kaemmerer.

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To be or not to be sick at small scale enterprises was my interpretation of the theme of a Conference in Elsinore (Helsingør). The economic crisis will hit hard on SMEs.  My Powerpoint presentation can be downloaded from here.

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2.  The ILO Conference at the A+A in Duesseldorf, Germany, was attended by a number of inspectors and other specialists. Michele Patterson, President of the International Association of Labour Inspection and from Safework Australia commented very positively on the recent study on the costs of poor working conditions there. Also note the new address for the data.

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3. A new stop on the Agency’s European itinerary was the Leipzig Documentary Film Festival where EU-OSHA sponsored an award for the best film on a work-related theme. After having followed the footsteps of Shakespeare in Elsinore I found myself in the place where Goethe, Schiller, Bach and Robert Schumann worked. I hope we could have even a fraction of the impact that those icons of history had. The winning film was called “Blooming Business” and describes the really poor working conditions of those workers in Africa who produce roses for Europe. Long working hours, dangerous pesticides, a mother of two small children who has to sleep with the supervisor to keep the job... 
The glamour of the Festival was really contrasted by the reality of harassment.  How about asking your florist next time you are buying flowers about the working conditions these flowers were produced in?
Many of our partners of the Risk Assessment Campaign were present and Ms. Pessina, Pirelli’s HR Manager in Italy kindly offered her “credit” card to me. According to the EU rules I could only accept her visit card... more pictures


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