For several decades, within the (current) European Union, we have lived periodically with strategic frameworks for occupational health and safety (the current framework, for the period from 2021 to 2027).
The prevention of “work-related diseases”, understood as all pathological conditions in which work, in some way, negatively affects health, apparently did not deserve sufficient attention, at least with regard to the attention given to accidents at work. the work.
In this 2021-2027 strategy, three main objectives are defined:
- improve the prevention of accidents and diseases in the workplace;
- Anticipate and manage change in the new world of work, resulting from environmental, digital and demographic shifts;
- Increased preparedness to respond to future health crises.
The formula is generic and in the first objective, it is assumed that it refers to the prevention of “work-related illness”, “abuse” and decades-long forgetfulness, of which “work-related” cancer is a good example. However, there is a bad sign, in English the text refers to “Workplace diseases“not”Work related diseases“or”occupational diseasesThey seem to be used synonymously, though Illness And the Illness It may not have the exact same meaning (and there still is disturbance And the the disease). True, it is true that occupational disease is not synonymous with work-related disease!
If the negative impact of occupational risk factors on the health of those already working for him is of some complexity, now, with this text, the complexity increases with this”Workplace diseasesThat “innovates” in occupational pathology and clinical practice, or at least adds some uncertainty.
Strategic Objective II refers to major changes in the world of work, both in relation to workers and in relation to changes in working conditions that pose, in fact, important challenges, also in work/health relations (disease).
The latter strategic objective is determined entirely by the current epidemiological situation and, unless the best judgment is reached, is unnecessary. In fact, public health includes health in all policies, and this preparation for response to new emergencies should be a national goal rather than an occupational health “specific” goal (or, if you prefer, health and safety at work). It is understood, however, that the severity of the impact of the current pandemic is also transmitted to sectoral policies, in this case labor and health.
However, the best strategy should be to include the protection of the health (as well as the safety) of those working in best practices for the practice of any activity, as opposed to the usual view of seeing it as something ‘plus’ to such activities. Good habits. As long as this is not a dominant corporate or organization culture, there is a risk that it will be seen as more of a cost than an investment. This does nothing to protect the health (and safety) of workers in the supposedly intended workplace.
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