EC and ILO pair up to address health of the global workforce

The
health of workers around the globe, including the way in which they deal with
stress and violence, is being tackled by the European Commission (EC) and the
International Labour Organisation (ILO).

In
separate but complementary initiatives, the EC and ILO have published documents
aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of workers.

The
EC has called on European Union member states, including the UK, to adopt an
updated list of common illnesses that it believes staff should be compensated
for if they contract them at work (see box).

Its
demands are not mandatory, but should serve to focus European governments on
what is and is not open to compensation.

At
the same time, it has published a second list of illnesses, which says member
states should set rules for compensation where it can be proved the conditions
were occupational in origin and nature.

The
ILO has published a detailed global draft code of practice on reducing the
amount of violence and stress suffered by service industry staff.

Its
guidelines include notes on how to identify situations and jobs that are
particularly at risk, as well as signs of stress.

The
guidelines highlight taxi drivers, emergency services, nurses, teachers, hotel
staff, entertainers and transport staff as being particularly at risk, due to
their direct contact with the public.

EC’s
high priorities list


Diseases caused by 36 named chemical agents, including arsenic, ammonia and
chlorine


Skin diseases provoked by nine elements and allergies, such as soot, tar and
paraffin


Respiratory problems, such as silicosis and asbestosis


Cancers, including lung cancer caused by wood dust


Infectious and parasite diseases, such as tetanus, tuberculosis and brucellosis


Physical injuries, such as cataracts, caused by heat radiation

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