Worker’s Participation: A Key to Health Promotion at the Workplace
Promotion of health at the workplace can be achieved only through the workers’ full participation in the fundamental aspects of the process. This involves:
Recognition and analysis of risk factors and health hazards
Analysis of the work organization to identify how and when harm occurs
A general change in working conditions, in both the work environment and the work organization
Thus, two conditions are simultaneously required:
Awareness and knowledge of risks (and consequently of stress factors)
Direct intervention ability in:
Analysis (elaboration of knowledge)
APlanning (elaboration of change hypotheses)
AInvolvement (action for change)
Health services have so far reacted to the workers’ needs almost exclusively in terms of curative medicine, a type of medicine which allows predominance of the technical aspects within a rigidly authoritative and hierarchical system. This curative medicine intended, and intends, to be the expression of a presumed (but false) “neutrality” when faced with health hazards. In fact, it acts as a “partner” of the “establishment” by intervening on the damage instead of the risk, while providing a seemingly acceptable coverage of an unhealthy environment and work organization. Even when official medicine has, on occasion, provided certain preventive measures, these were still expressions of a medical system fulfilling the establishment’s directives: selective and early diagnosis which simply registers the harm suffered and lacks both the capacity and will to enter into the essence of health protection or to face the true risks and causes of occupational diseases (Briziarelli et al. 1977).
KeywordsTrade Union Work Process Work Organization Local Health Unit Health Education Intervention
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989