BRUSSELS, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) is to update its guidelines for workplace health and safety as the world of work is changing due to the COVID-10 pandemic, EU officials announced on Monday.
Almost 40 percent of workers turned to remote working full time due to the pandemic, said Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis at a press conference, proposing the EU strategic framework on health and safety at work, 2021-2027.
"For many, the concept of a traditional workplace is disappearing fast. While that brings opportunities, it also brings challenges and risks -- health, psychological and social," he added.
The strategic framework is articulated around anticipating and managing these changes, prevention of work-related accidents and illnesses, and preparedness for future health crises.
The rules on occupational safety and health in the EU will be updated to adapt to the changes induced by the green, digital and demographic transitions, as well as by the pandemic. COVID-19 is to be included in occupational diseases in the new recommendation by the European Commission next year, said Dombrovskis.
The rules provide protection for almost 170 million workers in the EU, he said.
From 1994 to 2018, work-related deaths drastically decreased by 70 percent, said European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, but challenges still remain, as cancer causes 100,000 occupational deaths every year or over half of all work-related deaths.
As for mental health, stress at work is the cause of half of all lost working days in the EU, while almost 80 percent of managers are concerned about stress, official figures show.
The rise of remote working is also posing new challenges in terms of the workers' mental well-being, with reduced social interaction and hyperconnectivity, said the officials. Enditem