Healthy, safe, and well-adapted work environments, and data protection
"Workers have the right to a high level of protection of their health and safety at work. Workers have the right to a working environment adapted to their professional needs and which enables them to prolong their participation in the labour market. Workers have the right to have their personal data protected in the employment context."
Work places and data protection as determinants of health
We spend a large part of our lives at work. While the negative impacts of poor working conditions on our health are generally well understood, the public health field has not yet fully recognised the positive contribution workplaces can play as health-enabling ‘infrastructures.’
But gradually, workplaces are increasingly being used more and more as a setting for health promotion and preventive health activities – not only to prevent occupational injury and disability, but to assess and improve people’s overall physical AND mental health.
It was a step in the right direction for the European Commission to pay explicit attention to healthy workplaces in their strategic political framework 2019-2024. The inclusion of the workers' right to a high level of protection at work to safeguard their health and safety served as a notable prompt for this move as outlined in Principle 10 of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
What does the EPSR Action Plan say?
The EPSR Action Plan sets out several overarching goals for EU Member States in the field of social rights more generally:
At least 78% of the population aged 20 to 64 should be in employment by 2030.
A reduction of at least 15 million in the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
At least 80% of those aged 16-74 should have basic digital skills, a precondition for inclusion and participation in the labour market and society in a digitally transformed Europe.
Social partners should explore measures to ensure fair telework conditions and measures to ensure that all workers can effectively enjoy a right to disconnect.
Member States need to invest in health and care workforce, improving their working conditions and access to training.
Where are we now?
The European Union Information Agency for Occupational Safety and Health (EU-OSHA) Flash Eurobarometer survey found that a number of workplace initiatives are being used across the EU to address stress at work. Findings showed that:
42% of workers have access to information and training on wellbeing and coping with stress.
59% of workers are aware of information on safety and health via their workplaces.
38% of employees have access to counselling or psychological support via their workplaces.
43% of workers are consulted about stressful aspects of their work.
50% of workers would be concerned to disclose mental health condition in fear of dismissal or other negative impact on their career.
What are public health actors doing?
The following actions taken by public health actors at (sub)national level can support the implementation of EPSR principle 10.
Click on a country to learn about initiatives taking place.
EU tools that help implement Principle 10
There are EU policies and instruments that can help relevant actors in the field, including public health, to work together to achieve EPSR Principle 10.
More information about the EU institutions and programmes is available on EuroHealthNet's Health Inequalities Portal.
Have your say
Would you like to share promising policies or practices carried out by your public health institute, which support the implementation of this EPSR principle?
Building a healthier future for all by addressing the determinants of health and reducing inequalities.
EuroHealthNet is the Partnership of public health agencies and organisations building a healthier future for all by addressing the determinants of health and reducing inequalities. Our focus is on preventing disease and promoting good health by looking within and beyond the health system.
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