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Spotlight on Greece

May 18, 2021 | jipzttuh | No Comments

first_imgGreek health and safety has undergone legal advancements, but now the nationhas to tackle public awareness.  By DrTheodore Bazas Greece is a member state of the European Union, joining on 1 January 2001.It has an economically active population of 3,900,000, employed in primary,secondary and tertiary sector, mostly in small- and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs). There is an estimated population of 200,000 to 400,000 immigrant workersand the official unemployment rate is 11 per cent. Around 22,000 work accidents2 are recorded annually (the constructionindustry ranking the highest). Occupational diseases are diagnosedsporadically, but data is not compiled. Cause-specific analysis of earlyretirement due to occupational or non-occupational grounds have not been made. Impressive steps There are 25 specialists in occupational medicine3, 4 one in state generalhospitals, and 17 new trainees attending the four-year specialisation programme.Physicians, designated as “occupational physicians” working mainly inlarge or high-risk enterprises and banks, mostly on a part-time basis, numberabout 400. There are a few dozen company nurses and several hundred safetyengineers/technicians. Most active agencies offer limited but substantialservices. No reference has been made by the two major political parties to OHin their April 2000 written pre-election pronouncements Since 19815, Greek legislation on occupational health and safety has takenimpressive steps forward, having been harmonised to that of the European Union,mainly by way of presidential decrees3,6. It includes provisions on enforceableoccupational exposure limits for 550 chemicals, ergonomics, carcinogenicsubstances, biological hazards, VDUs, work installations and equipment,occupational rehabilitation for the mentally ill, protection of pregnant womenat work, night and shift work, employment in temporary and mobile work andgroup occupational health services. Proven offenders of OH and safetyregulations have been fined. However, actual law enforcement is lagging behind on account of shortage oftrained occupational physicians and appointed enterprise physicians offeringsuitable, credible and adequate advice, and state safety(“technical”) and medical occupational health inspectors. Furthermore, the Workers’ Health and Safety at Work Committees, allowed forin the law, have not been convened in many enterprises, possibly due to theworkers neglecting to request their establishment. Occupational medicine is taught to undergraduate university medicalstudents, albeit in a fragmented way by epidemiologists, toxicologists and lungspecialists, and also to nursing students at the university and the tertiaryeducation level Institutes for Professional Training. Elements of safetyengineering and ergonomics are included in the undergraduate curriculum forengineering students. Little research Hardly any research papers on occupational medicine are presented at theannual Greek Medical Congress, or published in medical journals. There are nojournals specifically for OH. In brief, there is a discrepancy between the major legislative advancementand the diverse information activities aimed at the promotion of publicawareness on the one hand, and the actual surveillance, prevention, managementof ill-health, the health promotion in the field, and relevant education on theother. Though there is ample room for improvement, the situation is not yetdaunting. Dr Theodore Bazas, md, mfom (rcp, london) msc (london), dih (engl),national secretary, international Commission On Occupational Health, 22Yakinthon street, 154 52 Psychico, Athens, Greece References 1. National Statistical Service of Greece (1999) Research Results on LabourForce. Unpublished data, Athens. 2. National Insurance Administration (1998) Work Accidents Bulletin, for theyear 1996, Athens. 3. Bazas T. (1999) Occupational Medicine Subjects in Practice: A manual forcompany physicians and managers. Second edition. Hellenic ManagementAssociation, pp33-48, Athens. 4. Bazas T. (1994) Proposal for the Speciality and Specialisation Trainingin Occupational Medicine. Health Review (Sciences-Technology-Policy); 5(4):237-240, [Athens]. 5. Bazas T. (1981) The OH approach in Greece. Occupational Health, 33 (11):564-566, [UK]. 6. Hellenic Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (1994) [CD-ROMRevised 1999] Handbook of the Occupational Health and Safety Legislation,Athens. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Spotlight on GreeceOn 1 Nov 2000 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more