ESRA 2019 Draft Programme at a Glance


How to survey health and safety at work in the changing world of work? Theory, challenges, and practice 1

Session Organisers Mrs Marine Cavet (Prevention and Research Unit - European Agency for Health and Safety at Work)
Mr Maurizio Curtarelli (Prevention and Research Unit - European Agency for Health and Safety at Work)
Mr Xabier Irastorza (Prevention and Research Unit - European Agency for Health and Safety at Work)
TimeThursday 18th July, 09:00 - 10:30
Room D23

The aim of the session is gathering international researchers in the field of health and safety at work (OSH) and OSH-related fields of working conditions or public health to present and discuss methodological issues, examples of surveys and innovative survey and research methodologies, including combining data from different sources. Traditionally employers’ surveys are conducted to investigate OSH regulation compliance, risks prevention, types of initiatives adopted to retain workers with ill-health or chronic diseases or to promote return to work of workers after an accident or sickness, and workers’ surveys are conducted to investigate the impact of work and working conditions or the exposure to risks on workers’ health. Nevertheless, fully reliable data on occupational and work-related health issues are still an issue, statistics on occupational diseases are not fully satisfactory and far from being comparable across countries, and there is still a lack of consensus about agreed definitions on what is ‘occupational’ and what is ‘work-related’ in order to measure it in a sound, reliable and comparable way. In addition, the new forms of work, the increasing digitalisation of work tasks, the growing polarisation of the labour market with an increase of highly-skilled (desk-based) jobs and low or non-skilled (manual) jobs, the 'bad' jobs in which growing inflows of migrant workers are segregated, are all factors which impact on health, have implications in terms of prevention and pose new challenges of measurement, sampling, getting access to respondents and ensure cross-country comparability. Examples of questions to be responded in this session are: how to get access to employers with a poor OSH protection performance who are reluctant to respond a survey? How to sample and get access to workers who are exposed to specific types of risks or have particularly poor working conditions which impact on their health? How to get access to and survey migrant workers, especially those not legal or those in particularly exploitative working contexts? How to ensure comparability across countries? How to combine survey data and administrative data e.g. in the area of return-to-work? Are employers-employees surveys a good tool to have a broader perspective on OSH? What are the best survey modes to survey OSH, considering that health is a sensitive topic? How to measure the impact of new forms of work and digital technologies on health, also in terms of psychosocial risk?

Keywords: occupational health and safety, new forms of work, employers' surveys, workers' surveys

The European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER)

Mr Xabier Irastorza (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)) - Presenting Author
Ms Marine Cavet (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA))

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) completed its second European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER-2) in 2014, interviewing 49,320 establishments across 36 countries.

There are available data on work-related accidents and ill-health through reporting systems and surveys directed at workers. However, little is known about the management of occupational safety and health (OSH) risk, in practice, particularly those that are ‘new and emerging’, such as work-related stress, violence and harassment. ESENER is aiming to fill this information gap by exploring four OSH areas:

1. OSH Management in the establishment.
2. How psychosocial risks are addressed.
3. Main drivers and barriers to OSH management.
4. How worker participation in OSH management is implemented in practice.

ESENER-2 built on the experience and findings of ESENER-1 (2009), leading to the following changes:

• Target population: (1) smallest establishment size class employing five workers rather than ten and (2) coverage of agriculture, forestry and fishing –all sectors included except for private households (T) and extraterritorial organisations (U).
• Respondent: a single respondent in each establishment: “the person who knows best about health and safety in this establishment” followed by a question on their function in order to enable an analysis by type of respondent.

By country, the samples ranged from 450 in Malta to 4,250 in the United Kingdom. Data were collected through computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), by native interviewers in each country. There were 47 national versions of the questionnaire.

Datasets for both waves of ESENER are available at the UKDA and GESIS.

Fieldwork for ESENER-3 is scheduled for 2019 -same questionnaire and methodological approach of ESENER-2- and first results should be available by the end of 2019. The presentation aims to share the lessons learnt -and challenges- of tree waves surveying OSH among enterprises.


The Potential and Limitations of Unlinked Employer-Employee Surveys on Health and Safety - An Assessment Based on Practical Experience

Mr Arnold Riedmann (Kantar Public) - Presenting Author

EU legislation obliges employers to take a series of provisions for the health and safety of their employees, such as the obligation to carry out risk assessments or to inform employees on health hazards. Most surveys dealing with health and safety arrangements at the workplace are therefore focused on employers, asking them in how far they are implementing the legal requirements or measures going even beyond these. This focus has however two drawbacks: Employers not complying with all legal obligations may refuse participation in the survey or they participate, but are not necessarily honest in their answers (social desirability). The result can be a skewed, positively biased picture of reality, putting limits to the usefulness of the survey results.

A good means to learn more about such effects is to supplement the employer survey by a survey among employees, asking the employee side questions that allow for a verification of the results from the employer survey. Combined employer-employee surveys do not necessarily have to be carried out within the same workplace, but can also be carried out with independent samples. The presentation will show the potential and the drawbacks of this method, illustrated by examples from two national German surveys and a cross-national survey involving 5 European countries. It will hereby tackle different aspects such as measurement quality, selection bias, costs and practical implementability. A short comparison with the possibilities and limitations of linked employer-employee datasets will complement the assessment.


Measuring the Quality of Work and its Eeterminants: The Methodological Framework of the IV Survey on the Quality of Work in Italy

Ms Valentina Gualtieri (Inapp (Italian National Institute for Public Policy Analysis)) - Presenting Author

Labour studies are traditionally mainly focusing on issues related to the ”quantity” of work, in particular on aspects such as maintenance of employment and the reintegration of workers into employment. Analyses that link labour market indicators with information on the “quality” of work are indeed not particularly common. For this reason, in order to investigate more in depth the quality of work, Inapp (the Italian National Institute for Public Policy Analysis) has conducted a periodical survey on workers (QDL survey) in Italy since 2000. The main objective of the survey is to collect a large set of items which operationalise the 5 dimensions of the quality of work (ergonomic, economic, complexity, autonomy and control) identified by the conceptual framework of scholars Gallino and La Rosa. The initial three rounds of the survey were targeting workers only and were meant to gather information about their working conditions. Nevertheless, for the most recent round of the survey (carried out in 2015), it was considered that a more comprehensive understanding of the factors that determine quality of work require exploring also the characteristics of the environment in which individuals work, that is the workplace, in particular their characteristics, their organisational aspects and company strategies. Therefore, this led to complement the survey on workers (with a sample of 15000 workers) by a survey on employers (with a sample of 5000 workplace), including a sub-sample of employees linked to their respective employers (600 workers) to analyse more in detail the quality of work of workers in relation to its determinants at workplace level. The aim of our contribution is to present the innovative methodological approach of the IV QDL survey in Italy, focusing in particular on the ergonomic dimension of the survey, which cover most of the OSH aspects and health outcomes determinants.


Use of Complementary Data for Analysing Health and Safety at Work in the European Union

Mr Matthias Fritz (European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Unit B3 – Health and safety) - Presenting Author

The contribution will deal with the potential of data from not or less used data sources for health and safety at work such as the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS). EHIS has received less attention in the field of health and safety at work but allows for comparing some health and safety indicators between economic sectors, occupations and other work-related variables. It offers, for example, data regarding certain health syndromes such as musculoskeletal diseases, depression, diabetes or allergies between different economic sectors and occupations. The analysis could offer complementary insight into health and safety at work at EU level. A comparison with data from other EU data sources on health and safety at work will put the new insight into perspective.