The UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on decent work and economic growth dovetails with recently published work to develop a comprehensive approach to assess the burden of work-related injury, disease, and distress. Overall, decent work is work that has a low burden of morbidity, mortality, disability, cost, and psychosocial impacts. Generally, this burden has been incompletely portrayed and underestimated. To address this underestimation a comprehensive framework for burden has been developed. The framework includes four elements:
utilising multiple domains, including the individual worker, the worker’s family, the community in which the workplace is located, the employer, and society as a whole;
taking a broader view of the work–relatedness of disease;
assessing the impact of the entire working–life continuum; and
applying the comprehensive concept of ‘well–being’ as an indicator in addressing contemporary change in the nature of work, the workforce, and the work place.
Measuring the burden in these elements and their composite may serve as benchmarks to gauge progress on meeting SDG targets for decent work. For this to be practical there needs to research on developing and measuring these individual elements of burden and determining the means to integrate them. This may involve looking beyond the traditional sources of surveillance data.
Various concepts in the proposed burden elements are resonant with the SDG goals and targets. For example, underemployment and unemployment which appear to have similar health effects are resonant with the target of full and productive employment. Similarly, full and productive employment should be considered across the whole working-life continuum. Taking a comprehensive view of burden and applying it to the SDG targets is worth considering and this presentation will establish that proposition.
Disclaimer The opinions in this presentation are those of the author and not necessarily of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
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