Job quality is associated with lower turnover and absenteeism and improved productivity performance. Health and well-being is impacted by the physical work environment, the physical demands of the job, as well as the psychosocial dimensions of the workplace, like job stress, role-conflict, and job control.
The Canadian Policy Research Network (CPRN) looked at health and wellbeing in Canadian workplaces in relationship to 16 other countries around the world. Their research examined two indicators of health and well-being. The first is a measure of how often workers reported working at high speed; a job that requires workers to continuously work at high speeds may contribute to stress. The second indicator shows the proportion of workers who feel that their health or safety is at risk because of their job.
• On average, about 11% of workers in the 17 countries studied report working at a very high speed all of the time. Workers in Canada have the highest ranking with respect to workers reporting working continuously at a high speed. The figures range from a low of 7.3% of workers in Spain to a high of 16.8% in Canada. (US at 16.5%, UK at 12.7%, France 10.7%).
• This data supported the CPRN – EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000) which found that almost one fifth of Canadian workers (18 percent) say they “often” or “very often” have difficulty keeping up with their workloads
• Self-employed workers are less likely to feel that they are working at a very high speed all of the time
• Those under 25 are more likely to report feeling that they are working at a very high speed all of the time
• Canada ranks 4th for feeling that their job puts their health and safety at risk at 31.7% behind Greece at 49.2% and above the 17 country average of 28.5% (US 28.4%, UK 25.5% and Sweden at 5.5%)
• Self-employed workers are more likely to feel that their job puts their health and safety at risk – except in Canada
• Older workers are more likely to feel that their job puts their health and safety at risk
JOB QUALITY: The Impact of Environment on Health and Well-Being
Canadian Policy Research Network Report
Working in a ‘healthy’ environment is a vital aspect of what constitutes a good job. While being employed in a physically safe workplace is an important aspect of this, other factors also contribute to workplace health. These include supportive social relationships, reasonable workloads and latitude to decide how to get the job done.
• More than 1 in 4 Canadian workers say that their workplace is not healthy
• 68% of Canadians say that their workplace is both ‘healthy’ and ‘safe’,
• 11% of employees say that their workplace is neither ‘safe,’ nor ‘healthy’
• 4 percent characterized their workplace as ‘healthy,’ but not ‘safe’ (Workers in this group might include people such as firefighters)
• 17 percent of Canadian workers say that while their workplace is ‘safe,’ it is not necessarily ‘healthy’ – (high levels of stress, long hours of work, unrealistic bosses etc.)
• Employees in larger firms are more likely to say that their workplace is not healthy
• Unionized companies are more likely to have their employees say that their workplace is not healthy
• Finance and insurance industries are least likely to have their employees say that their workplace is not healthy while public administration is the most likely to report an unhealthy workplace
• Those employees who strongly agreed that their workplace was healthy also reported a significant higher rate of job satisfaction and commitment
• Roughly one in eight Canadian workers reported that the fear of injuring themselves at work had caused them anxiety
• Blue collar workers (work in settings like factories, forestry operations, mines, farms, and construction, often alongside heavy machinery, industrial chemicals, in loud environments) were more likely than clerical
workers to report concern at some point during the year that they might be injured on the job
• Working more than 40 hours per week significantly increases the likelihood of reporting concern of being injured on the job
Do you work in a healthy and safe environment?
Do you have trouble keeping up with workloads?
Does your job require you to work at high speeds?
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