Employment : Working Conditions Slowly Improving, Survey Finds

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European workers remain as exposed to physical hazards as they were 20 years ago, even if they feel safer than before. These are some of the initial findings of Eurofound's 5th European working conditions survey', published on 16 November on the occasion of a conference on active ageing - Working longer through better working conditions, new modes of work and career organisation'a held on 16-17 November in Brussels.

According to the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, one in three Europeans (33%) carry heavy loads at least a quarter of their working time. However, this trend is not confined to manual work - nearly half of all workers (46%) work in tiring or painful positions at least a quarter of the time. Moreover, repetitive hand or arm movements are a feature of work for more Europeans than ten years ago.

However, the proportion of workers who feel that their health and safety are at risk because of their work has been declining since 2000, falling from 31% of workers to 24%. This trend is largely due to the fact that workers are better informed on work-related risks (90% say they are well-informed).

"It is important that we know what is really happening in the workplace, so that we can help policy makers design policies that are relevant and that are tackling the real issues," says Eurofound Director Jorma Karppinen. …