word cloud with "labor unions" as the most important word

Project: Health Risk Outlooks by Social Partners (HEROS)

In this project, we analyse health and safety policy interventions regarding Covid-19 by social partner organisations at both the national and European sectoral level, to identify effective ways to provide better protection for employees.

Project information

Project manager at Linnaeus University
Bengt Larsson
Other project members
Linda Hiltunen, Linnaeus University; Barbara Bechter (project manager), Durham University, and Manuala Galetto, Warwick University, United Kingdom; Sabrina Weber, Hochschule Pforzheim, Germany; Dominik Owczarek and Inga Blaziene, Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Warsaw, Poland
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University; Durham University and Warwick University, United Kingdom; Hochschule Pforzheim, Germany; Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Warsaw, Poland
The European Commission
1 Sept 2021–31 Aug 2023
Sociology (Department of Social Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences)

More about the project

The current Covid-19 pandemic highlights the importance of greater national and European level policy coordination to protect and promote healthy, safe and well-adapted work environments. The European Framework Directive on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) at Work (Directive 89/391 EEC) guarantees minimum health and safety requirements for employees throughout Europe, while member states are allowed to maintain or establish more stringent measures.

The pandemic, however, has revealed gaps in the provision of health and safety at work in almost all member states. Analysis of deaths involving the Covid-19 virus by occupation showed the highest death toll among the lowest paid workers in non-standard employment. Generally, the growth of more flexible work arrangements, subcontracting, casual and home‐based work and the decline in union membership has undermined both coverage and the effectiveness of health and safety provisions (Johnstone et al., 2005).

The OSH directive obliges employers to take appropriate preventive measures to make work safer and enable employee involvement and consultation in health and safety issues. Generally, better health and safety protection outcomes are achieved when employee participation is included.

We use a multi-level analysis to investigate health and safety policy interventions by social partner organisations, at both the national and European sectoral level, to identify effective ways to provide better protection. We especially focus on how social partners in Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and the UK coordinate policy interventions at national and European sectoral level, to manage health and safety risks in the hospital and social services sectors.