“Work disability prevention is increasingly important as the conditions in working life are changing so rapidly.”
10th of April 2017
Course leader presentation: Kerstin Ekberg
Work Disability Prevention (Year 2), 12th – 16th of June 2017, Uppsala, Sweden
1. What is your background? A short presentation of yourself.
With a background as a psychologist I made my dissertation in Occupational Health (long ago) 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.
2. Why do you think that work disability prevention is an important and current issue to discuss in 2017?
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 strategies. This in turn leads to increased demands on the employees, sometimes coupled with less job security. In parallel we see increasing numbers of people on sick-leave due to stress-related disorders or pain. There are also reports on high numbers of presenteeism, i.e. people who go to work when they shouldn´t due to ill health. Work disability prevention is increasingly important as the conditions in working life are changing so rapidly.
3. 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. We hope that you will enjoy Sweden and Uppsala as much as we enjoyed Helsinki last year.