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Young workers and sustainable work life

Special emphasis on Nordic conditions

image of Young workers and sustainable work life

A sustainable working life that prevents work-related health problems and facilitate inclusion of young workers is vital to ensure the health, safety and work participation among young workers in the Nordic countries. This report provides Nordic statistics, scientific knowledge and discussions on how to achieve a sustainable work life for young workers in the Nordic countries. Under the Swedish presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2013, the focus was on youth and young workers' working conditions. As part of this focus, the Nordic Council of Ministers commissioned this report. The report shows that an inter-disciplinary and comprehensive approach is essential to ensure a sustainable work life among young workers. Six characteristics are emphasized as important: the characteristics of the worker, the workplace, the work task, the employment, the education and the youth.

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Nordic statistics

In order to present and compare Nordic statistics on young workers, we used Eurostat data on self-reported physical and mental health, work environmental exposures, occupational accidents and work participation (Eurostat). Eurostat data are statistics from the EU’s statistical office under the European Commission, whose mission is to develop qualitatively comparable statistics for the EU and other countries. Norway and Iceland provide data to Eurostat for most statistical areas, through the European Economic Agreement (EEA). Some of the questions are however posed somewhat differently in the five Nordic countries, resulting in differing levels of reporting. To take this into account the relative risk of reporting occupational accidents, work exposures and health outcomes, were compared between young and older workers and presented for each country. The Eurostat data defines young workers as the age group 15–34 years. In the National statistics in each country, the young workers are defined as 15–24 years. Data from the National Labour Surveys where therefore also used to give a more complete picture.

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