Kerstin Ekberg: “The increasing demands in working life place new demands on the work disability systems”
22nd of February 2018
Course leader presentation: Kerstin Ekberg
Work Disability Prevention – Sociopolitical challenges for practice and research, 11th – 15th of June, 2018, Kurhotel Skodsborg, Skodsborg, Denmark
1. What is your background? A short presentation of yourself.
With a background as a psychologist I made my dissertation in Occupational Health based on epidemiologic studies of work related risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and interventions to promote return to work. An eye-opener was that active individual interventions did not promote return to work, while active and involved employers shortened sick-leave. Over the years this insight has been confirmed by many researchers. Today my research activities are mainly focusing the role of the workplace for health, work ability, and return to work for sick-listed employees in different types of studies. An additional focus lies in how the work disability system, involving health care, Social Insurance Office and other stakeholders, works, and the development needs for the system.
- Why do you think that work disability prevention (sociopolitical challenges for practice and research) is an important and current issue to discuss in 2018?
Working life is driven by efforts to increase resource-efficient production. This development leads to new forms of organization of work, involving for example flexible work arrangements, lean production, or new public management. Demands on the employees have increased, sometimes coupled with less job security. Simultaneously we see increasing numbers of people on sick-leave due to stress-related disorders or pain and high numbers of presenteeism. The increasing demands in working life place new demands on the work disability systems to handle vulnerable groups and demanding work conditions. Eligibility to benefits is still mainly based on bio-medical assessments, while ability to work is a much more complex issue that needs to be incorporated in research and in the WDP systems.
- Your greetings to the participants of the course.
Welcome to this course! You will meet great colleagues from all over the world with different ideas about work disability prevention, coming from different jurisdictions and occupations. This gives an opportunity to discuss from different angels, based on different conditions and experiences.