Work related diseases

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

Avian influenza cases in poultry and water birds on the rise

The latest report from EFSA, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the EU Reference Laboratory (EURL) with OSH recommendations provided by EU-OSHA, indicates that cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) recorded in Europe among poultry and water birds have risen since the summer.

EU-OSHA's participation in the report has been based on recommendations on monitoring, diagnosis of human infections and public health, occupational health and safety measures for infection prevention and control in the EU/EEA.

According to the report, in the coming months the increasing infection pressure on poultry establishments might increase the risk of incursions in poultry, with potential further spread.

Read EFSA´s Avian influenza overview September -December 2022

Visit the interactive dashboard with information on the number and evolution of cases in Europe.

Discover the report on Testing and detection of zoonotic influenza virus infections in humans in the EU/EEA

New indicators and functionalities to discover in the OSH Barometer tool

It is easier than ever to navigate the OSH Barometer data visualisation tool for the state of occupational safety and health (OSH) in Europe. Major OSH indicators are now split up and grouped by “Accidents, diseases and wellbeing” and “Working conditions and prevention”. The new indicator on work-related diseases gives the latest international estimates of the impact of work on major groups of diseases for the EU-27. The revamped tool now also offers information on regulation and international organisations and programmes dealing with OSH.

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.

Let’s fight exposure to carcinogens at work with Napo!

A high proportion of EU workers are potentially exposed to ‘process-generated carcinogens’, in particular exhaust fumes such as diesel engine emissions, silica dust, hardwood dust, and welding fumes. And many times they are unaware.

In a new video clip, Napo and his colleagues illustrate typical occupations where exposure to these carcinogens is high. Working as builders, mechanics or woodworkers, together with their boss, they look for prevention alternatives to operate in safe and healthy conditions.  

OSHwiki article in the spotlight: Remote work, remote workplaces and implications for OSH

Remote work has been primarily enabled by advances in digital development that narrowed down distance allowing workers to communicate and perform tasks from nearly anywhere.

The introduction of elements of mobility and flexibility, of working wherever and whenever, made a difference between the working conditions of workers in home offices and those in virtual offices.

Indeed, researchers reported some differences in the work-life balance of these two groups of workers, with lightweight ICT tools giving rise to the issues virtual workers still experience now, such as an increased work intensity and feeling of being constantly connected. This progressive detachment of work from place certainly impacts working conditions and is foreseen to keep increasing in the future.

Read the OSHwiki article: Remote work, remote workplaces and implications for OSH

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New report on testing and detection of zoonotic influenza virus infections in humans and occupational safety and health measures for those exposed at work

Zoonotic influenza viruses are viruses that can transmit from animals to humans, mainly avian and swine flu, and may cause epidemics or even pandemics, as in the past. Workers are likely to be at the front line of any outbreak where contact with animals cannot be avoided, such as in animal breeding centres, farms, zoos and slaughterhouses, laboratories, health and waste management facilities, or in wildlife conservation and forestry.

The joint report recently published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) , and the European Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease, aims to provide guidance on how to identify human infections with animal influenza viruses as early as possible to provide early warning and inform any measures. It explains the obligations that employers have to protect workers from infection or in the case of an outbreak.

Download and read the report

ECDC press release