Occupational safety and health of posted workers

POOSH

BACKGROUND

The occupational safety and health (OSH) of posted workers is regulated by Article 3 of the Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of provision of services and is inextricably linked to the assurance of decent labour/working conditions. The project activities focused on the under-researched, underexposed and poorly addressed issue of labour/ working conditions and OSH of posted workers. While previous research and policy-oriented initiatives tended to focus on issues such as tax avoidance, fictitious postings, social benefit frauds and challenges in establishing cooperation, in this project the attention was placed on the assurance of decent working conditions, occupational safety and health, assessment of health-related risks, prevention measures and monitoring.

AIMS

  • Enhancing transnational cooperation between national competent bodies, social partners and NGOs concerned with the OSH and labour/working conditions of posted workers, with the aim of exchanging best practices and experience, and in order to discuss possible forms of further cooperation, improve cooperation via the IMI system, facilitate multilateral initiatives leading to better monitoring and response to violations of labour rights, and develop policy recommendations.
  • Improving access to information on decent labour/working conditions and OSH of posted workers.
  • Providing comprehensive research on OSH­-related vulnerabilities of posted workers and regulatory protection in place in nine EU countries covered in the project. The research team also gathered and systematically reviewed the existing sources on labour/working conditions and OSH of posted workers in the EU.

METHODS

Comparative Research:

  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Comparative Analysis

ACTIVITIES/MILESTONES

  • Cooperation: 1 transnational conference, 3 joint visits, 1 roundtable, 4 project meetings, 5 national training/ capacity building workshops
  • Information-sharing activities: OSH e-observatory, online information-sharing platform, educational and informational materials in 11 languages, 4 awareness-raising media events
  • Research: 9 national case-studies and a comparative final report, 5 academic articles

FINDINGS

The findings of the project based on the results of the comparative analysis of the nine country reports (namely: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain) indicated that the temporary, mobile and transnational character of posting affects the health and safety of posted workers in multiple ways and involves several different aspects:

  • economic vulnerability and dependence on the employers make workers comply to poorer working and living conditions;
  • cases of injury reveal various irregularities to posted workers' health insurance and care;
  • while each country has complex systems of OSH providing for both prevention and protection of workers, posted workers do not necessarily take advantage of the existing mechanisms.

This is partly due to their lack of knowledge on host countries OSH structures and mechanisms, and partly because of their hesitation to go to the authorities, but it is also partly because of the inadequate response of enforcement organizations. Furthermore, lack of or limited access to collective representation lowers workers' level of protection and language barriers limit their access to information which has a wide range of implications – from exercising their employment rights, including health and safety rights, to accessing healthcare and housing and managing their daily lives. Aware of the challenges, stakeholders demand more coordinated and cohesive action. 

The European Centre for Welfare Policy and Research supports the Sustainable Development Goals

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UN SDG Good Health and Well-Being
UN SDG Decent Work and Economic Growth