Our biggest future challenges regarding working hours and health
Course leader presentation: Mikko Härmä
Working Hours and Health, 16th – 18th of May 2022, Folkhälsan, Helsinki, Finland
Mikko Härmä, we are thrilled to have you leading our course on Working Hours and Health for the third time, could you tell our participants a little bit about yourself?
I am a Physician and Docent in Chronobiology. For the last 20 years I have been working as a Research Professor at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, specializing in working hours, sleep, and ageing. During the last 10 years, my research has focused on the epidemiological research of shift work and health in the social and health care sector utilizing payroll data of working hours.
Why do you think that working hours and health is an important and current issue to discuss in 2022?
Non-standard working hour patterns like irregular shift schedules, different types of evening, night and 24-hour working hour arrangements, on-call and casual shifts are very common. Telework and demands on improved flexibility in working hours are increasing. Utilizing new research knowledge based on more precise exposure information than earlier, our knowledge and possibilities to prevent several health and other hazards of night and shift work has improved.
What are our biggest future challenges regarding working hours and health?
An insufficient or varying work force in many growing industrial sectors, like in different types of services, increases the irregularity of working hours. Irregularity makes exposure assessment and the prevention of negative consequences of non-standard working hours very demanding. At the same time, occupational safety and health legislation in many countries sets strict demands on the prevention, occupational health care and alleviation of the health hazards of night and shift work.