The European Risk Observatory (ERO) is working continuously to identify work environment risks, describe trends and anticipate changes that affect the work environment at our workplaces. The latest report from April this year is on the theme of transport and takes a closer look at the challenges and risks that personnel in the rail, air and maritime transport sectors are exposed to. Among the main physical work environment risks that all transport workers are subjected to include factors such as exposure to noise and vibration, awkward postures and handling of hazardous substances during cargo handling, cleaning and maintenance work.
Transport workers are also said to have limited opportunities for ergonomic working conditions and a healthy lifestyle, and more knowledge about work environment legislation and improved language skills are needed for a workforce with great diversity. Some specific issues have been identified in the area of maritime transport. Among other issues dealt with is the applicability of European work environment legislation when ships are operated under foreign flags. The report points out that the industry’s combination of physical, ergonomic and stress-related risks, unusual working hours, work away from home and the structural changes that have taken place is a challenge when monitoring the work environment and how risks should best be prevented. Finally, it emphasizes the importance of paying attention to working conditions, since a safe workplace means business benefits such as a lower absence rate, less damage to the equipment and cargo and more motivated personnel.
The complete report can be read or downloaded at www.osha.europa.eu/en
Chalmers University of Technology