COVID-19

Working Time and Work-Life Balance Around the World - New ILO report

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has recently published Working Time and Work-Life Balance Around the World, report that looks at the two main aspects of working time: working hours and working time arrangements and the effects of both on business performance and workers' work-life balance.

Covering the periods before and during COVID-19, the study found that a substantial portion of the global workforce are working either long or short hours when compared to a standard eight-hour day/40 hour working week.

Globally, a third of all workers regularly work more than 48 hours per week, while a fifth of the global workforce work less than 35 per week.

Read our OSHwiki article Work-life balance – Managing the interface between family and working life

EU handbook on working conditions of posted workers in the construction sector during COVID-19

The ‘European Market Environment in the Construction Sector - Enhancing the free movement of posted workers in the EU’ (EMEcs) project, co-funded by the European Commission, aims to understand how the measures introduced by Member States to combat the COVID-19 pandemic have affected posted workers in the construction sector.

At a recent online workshop, EMEcs presented the project’s EU handbook, which addresses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mobility, working conditions and social protection of posted workers in the construction sector. 

The project aims at delivering proposals and recommendations to better support posted workers in case of future pandemics.

Read EU-OSHA´s COVID -19 infection and long COVID – guide for managers and guide for workers.

EU-Commission recommends recognising COVID-19 as occupational disease in certain sectors and during a pandemic

The European Commission has adopted an updated Recommendation on occupational diseases following a tripartite agreement reached in May 2022 by Member States, workers and employers in the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) on the need to recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease. EU-OSHA has supported discussions by providing background information on the recognition of Covid-19 as occupational disease or accident.

With it, the Commission recommends that Member States recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease if contracted by workers:

 

  • in disease prevention,
  • in health and social care,
  • in domiciliary assistance,
  • or (during a pandemic) in other sectors where there is an outbreak and where a risk of infection has been proven.

The Commission also stresses the importance of supporting workers infected by COVID-19 and families who have lost members because of work exposure to the disease. It aims to strengthen the protection of workers and encourage a consistent approach across the EU. It will be for Member States to follow up on this Recommendation and define the details in national law.

The recognition and compensation of occupational diseases is a national competence. While most Member States already recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease or accident at work, the update aims to further encourage convergence and the recognition of COVID-19 as occupational disease across the EU.

Read EU-OSHA web sections on work-related diseases and Covid-19.

OSH risks! Digital platforms and teleworking during the global pandemic - New language versions available

As a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis, millions of workers across Europe and beyond have been required to stay home and work from there, making of teleworking a long-term possibility in many companies.

Teleworking has helped businesses evolve and survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has put workers at greater risk of musculoskeletal disorders and mental health problems.

The Telework and health risks in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic report reviews the occupational safety and health issues associated with telework, and the measures and regulations in place to prevent and manage them. Changes to legislation and initiatives adopted are examined in Regulating telework in a post-COVID-19 Europe report.

Read also Digital platform work and occupational safety and health: a review, and find out examples of company practices on OSH and teleworking.

New report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of the health and care workforce

Maintaining a healthy and productive health and care workforce is essential to delivering safe, high-quality, patient-centered care to populations worldwide.

A new report by the Qatar Foundation, World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) finds that at least a quarter of health and care workers surveyed reported anxiety, depression and burnout symptoms. 

Our duty of care: A global call to action to protect the mental health of health and care workers examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of the health and care workforce.

The report highlights 10 policy actions as a framework for immediate uptake, such as investing in workplace environments and culture that prevent burnout, promote staff well-being, and support quality care.

Read the report

Press Release by WHO

OSH Pulse - Occupational safety and health in post-pandemic workplaces

In Spring 2022, a representative sample of over 27,000 employed workers was interviewed on the phone across all EU Member States, plus Iceland and Norway.

The survey focuses on the mental and physical health stressors workers are confronted with and the occupational safety and health (OSH) measures implemented in their workplace. More specifically, the survey addresses the following areas:

  • Psychosocial risk factors, stress and mental health
  • Health outcomes
  • OSH preventive measures with a focus on mental health
  • Opinions and experience of OSH in the workplace
  • Digitalisation and use of digital technologies

The findings are presented in an overview report and summary, while 29 country factsheets offer a glimpse into the national results and an infographic gives a quick overview on the main findings.

The survey results support EU-OSHA’s activities on Digitalisation of workPsychosocial risks and stress at work, and Improving compliance with OSH regulations. In-depth analysis of specific topics will yield further interesting findings.