Health at work

As in private life, physical health and the psyche are linked in many different ways in the world of work. Working conditions affect the health of employees to varying degrees. Levels of stress and personal aspects are significant factors and determine whether the influence upon health is favourable or adverse.

What can be done, and what preventive measures used, to retain and/or improve health at work? We look forward to receiving your suggestions.

Keywords in this category:

Many companies have now adopted workplace health promotion as a permanent fixture within their organizational safety and health measures. Ideally, it should be linked within the company with other health-related services and functions, particularly occupational safety and health and corporate integration management, to form an integral approach to company health management.

What concepts and measures can be used to shape the digital transformation in the interests of good health? Special concepts for SMEs are particularly important in this context.

Workplaces should be designed to be as ergonomic as possible, i.e. the working environment (workplace and equipment) should be adapted to the skills and characteristics of the worker. How can the ergonomics of workplaces be optimized? What form does ergonomics take in the office and during remote work from home?

Faster and increasingly frequent restructuring processes in companies place high demands upon employees. Deadline and performance pressure, emotional demands presented by the tasks, and conflicts at work are among the factors affecting employee health. Risk assessment of mental stresses reveals organizational weaknesses and sources of stress in companies, and enables means to be identified by which this can be corrected. What experience and what support is available, particularly for SMEs?

In recent years, the importance of competence in occupational medicine for employers and employees has been growing. The current corona crisis has revealed this more starkly than ever. As active members of crisis management teams, company physicians are able to dispel the incorrect information that is currently spreading. These professionals are involved in assessing working conditions, giving consideration in the process to particularly vulnerable groups of employees.

What topical issues from the field and what research findings are of wider interest beyond the narrow circle of medical experts? What strategies exist by which preventive occupational medical care for employees can be made fit for the future? What opportunities present themselves for cooperation with other professions?

In May 2020, the lower house of the German parliament passed new provisions in the legislation concerning occupational diseases. One important change for employees is that the obligation to cease the hazardous activity has been deleted with respect to nine of the 80 formally recognized occupational diseases listed as such in the Ordinance on Occupational Diseases. The new provisions also include extension of the prevention mandate of the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions, improvements to the investigation of past exposure of employees (e.g. to biological substances, dangerous substances, radiation), and increased funding of research into occupational diseases. They are to come into force on 1 January 2021 and will be evaluated in 2026.

What do the new provisions mean for insured individuals, for prevention activity within companies and the occupational physicians, company physicians and other parties conducting it, and for the investigating labour inspectors of the accident insurance institutions and the assessors? What changes will they lead to in the conducting of investigations and in the formulation of expert opinions on exposures? What concepts should be implemented by the accident insurance institutions?