Working conditions and workers’ health
Ensuring the sustainability of pension systems in the context of ageing populations has become a priority: it requires that more people enter employment and that they work longer. At the same time, pressure on workers is rising due partly to ongoing change in how work is organised and performed; in turn, this impacts on the type and nature of risks associated with work. For workers to remain longer in the labour force, work must be made sustainable by reducing health-impairing conditions and fostering health-promoting ones. To this end, understanding the relationships between working conditions and workers’ health and well-being is key. This report examines these relationships in the EU28 using data from the European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)
Improving working conditions has long been a goal of European policies. Safe and healthy working conditions became a social right when the European Charter of Fundamental Rights stated that ‘every worker has the right to working conditions which respect his or her health, safety and dignity’ (Article 31). The European Pillar of Social Rights, ratified in 2017, reiterated the importance of working conditions by declaring that workers have the right to healthy, safe and well-adapted work environments. In the EU, occupational safety and health is regulated by the 1989 Framework Directive, plus many individual directives that have as basic principles adjusting workplace design, equipment and methods to the individual and minimising monotonous work and negative health impacts. The European Commission has adopted a number of strategic frameworks on health and safety at work; the most recent, covering 2014–2020, aims to ensure that the EU continues to play a leading role in promoting high standards for working conditions, in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy.