Supporting health at work: international perspectives on occupational health services

Supporting thumb
  • by Peter Westerholm and David Walters
  • Price £35
  • Softback, 190 pages
  • ISBN 978 0901357 39 7

Originally published as a supplement to our academic journal, Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, this timely volume focuses on how a range of EU member states tackle work health issues, the problems they face, and what they're doing to improve things for the future.

Order your copy by calling our customer support team on +44(0)116 257 3192.

In recent years, there's been a growing recognition among academics, health and safety agencies, employers and trade unions of the importance of occupational health. While many countries have seen significant reductions in deaths and injuries in the workplace, the rate of work-related ill health remains stubbornly high.

Supporting health at work presents the current position and explores the future direction of occupational health and preventive service provision in Western Europe. Despite the increasing influence of globalisation, and the efforts of supranational bodies such as the International Labour Organization and the European Union to standardise occupational health practice and provision, there's still a wide variety of systems for delivering this essential service to employees.

This timely volume enables comparisons to be made between the different approaches. It highlights gaps in the data on which many of the occupational health systems discussed are based, and explores the implications of the increasing reliance on market forces evident in many countries. Above all, it offers valuable pointers towards future research, development and improvement in workplace health.

To order a copy of this book, call our customer support team on +44(0)116 257 3192.

Example

Providing relevant and effective occupational health (OH) services in the changing world of work is widely recognised as a major challenge in most advanced market economies. Economic changes that are occurring on a world scale and the efforts of states to achieve or maintain competitiveness in global markets create new environments in which traditional approaches to requiring or supporting service provision for OH are no longer seen as appropriate.

In many countries, the shift away from the regulatory state to one in which the state is a facilitator of free market initiatives has produced many contradictions, some of which are directly relevant to the provision and role of OH services. Change in the structure of work and the labour market offers further significant challenges to the coverage and operation of traditional provision. In addition, the nature of the relationship between work and health is increasingly regarded as considerably more complex than in the past.

Negative health outcomes have changed as employment has shifted away from heavy industry towards services; this has led, for example, to a reduction in cases of traditional occupational diseases but parallel increases in stress-related conditions. At the same time, greater attention is being paid to providing support for keeping people in work and returning to productive employment those who have left work for health reasons.

In these latter scenarios, traditional views of the negative effects of work on health are to some extent being reoriented to accommodate notions of positive effects that productive economic activities have on the health and wellbeing of individuals in modern societies.