Evaluation of work conditions and occupational health risk factors in enterprises within a 10-year period in Latvia
Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Section B, Natural Sciences
Evaluation of work conditions and occupational health risk factors in enterprises within a 10-year period in Latvia The objective of the study was to conduct a survey in the field of occupational health and safety the results of which could be used in rational and effective decision making for elaboration of employment and social policy programmes and for ensuring occupational safety and health programme development. During the study the following groups of people were surveyed: employers,
... ational health and safety specialists, and employees. The traditional work risk factors (physical, chemical, biological) have changed to new risks (psychosocial, ergonomic, microclimatic) in Latvia today. The study included objective assessment of occupational health and safety situation (analysis of work environment risk factors measurement data bases, information on occupational diseases, workplace accidents). Results of measurements showed that one-third of measured risk factors values exceeded mandatory or recommended limits but situation has been improved during the last years (2002 compared to 2006). The results of surveys reveal insufficient assessment of risk factors in workplaces and selection of most hazardous ones only. Awareness and understanding of employers and employees regarding occupational health and safety requirements was dissatisfactory. The results of the study reveal a low level of workplace accidents compared to other countries within EU, which may be the result of poor registration system in Latvia. Strengthening of occupational safety and health normative basis and improvement of qualification of occupational physicians has increased the number of occupational diseases and patients revealed for the first time from 1996 to 2006. Early diagnose of occupational diseases and effective rehabilitation is an important question to favour a more rapid return of workforce after occupational morbidity. Study showed that attention should further be paid to simplification of legal requirements, development of alternative methods for informing and educating people, as well as recurrent definition of national indicators to assess efficacy of implemented measures related to occupational health and safety.