The European Year of Active Ageing 2012 aims to promote the quality of life and well-being of the European population, especially older people, and to promote solidarity between the generations. A good working life is an important platform to promote active ageing. Therefore, occupational health and safety plays a crucial role in securing active ageing through a better and longer work life. Good work also promotes cooperation between young, middle-aged and older generations.
Estimates of the recent and future burden of occupational diseases indicate that occupational cancer is still a major problem and will remain so in the future as a result of exposure of workers to carcinogens. Occupational cancer is a problem that needs to be tackled across the European Union (EU). This report provides an overview of assessment tools for the exposure to cancer risk factors and looks into relevant occupational factors: chemical, physical and biological exposures, as well as other possibly carcinogenic working environment conditions (such as shift and night work). It also examines opportunities to identify new causes or promoters of cancer, and evaluates existing sources of information, to identify major knowledge gaps and describe some new approaches needed to assess and prevent occupational cancer risks. It also describes occupational cancer prevention measures at European, national and workplace levels and makes recommendations for filling in gaps in relevant knowledge needed to prevent effectively future risks of occupational cancer.
The issue of vulnerable groups of workers (for example women, young workers, workers experiencing high exposure to carcinogens, workers in precarious conditions) is also addressed.
Women and men are not the same, and the jobs they do, their working conditions and circumstances and how society treats them are not the same. All these factors can affect the risks they face at work and the approach that needs to be taken to prevent these risks. More widespread recognition of the importance of taking account of gender differences in occupational safety and health (OSH) is relatively recent, although the number of initiatives seen in this area is increasing. However, especially because it is not always a very well understood area, practice needs to be exchanged and experiences shared. This report presents examples of policies, programmes and practices from across the EU and worldwide to illustrate gender approaches in OSH.
This report gives an overview of the current and emerging OSH issues for health- and social care workers and how these affect their safety and health at work and influence the quality of care they provide. It combines a literature review and the responses received to a questionnaire sent to OSH experts in all Member States, therefore allowing the findings from the literature to be compared with those from the ‘front line’. The report highlights the challenges facing the sector, including shortages of skilled and experienced professionals, an ageing workforce, increased use of technology requiring new skills and the introduction of new care pathways to tackle multiple chronic conditions.
The fact that people are living longer and increasingly needing long-term care shifts the emphasis from the controlled setting of acute hospital care to care in the community and people’s homes. The home care setting presents a particularly difficult work environment owing to small work spaces, lack of training, lone working, little or no supervision and having to face the same hazards as those encountered in, for example, hospitals but with insufficient measures in place to control the risks.