Forum D

Healthier lifestyles: maintaining employability and quality labour forces in a changing working life

All governments trying to persuade us to take better care of ourselves see employers as a key partner and the workplace as a vital area for health improvement measures. For the individual employee, personal well being is an essential part of his or her employability. This Forum examines what works and what doesn’t in the drive to 'sell' healthier lifestyles to workers.

In a world of work where changing jobs becomes the norm for increasing numbers of workers, employment security as opposed to traditional job security is becoming ever more important. The basis for job security is the ability to react flexibly to changes in work requirements: Employability, on the other hand, demands from workers a greater degree of personal responsibility regarding the maintenance and further development of their employment potential; it relies on continuous qualification and opportunities for self-advancement inside and outside the company.
Education is the key to a more flexible and more secure world of work. It is also an essential response to the continuing, relatively high level of unemployment in many developed countries. Segmented labour markets not only lead to inequality, but unemployment poses a longer term risk to the financing of social security systems and the economic well-being of a country.

However, 'health competence' is also increasingly being recognised as a key element of employability. A healthy lifestyle enables individuals to better cope with constantly changing requirements at work and to maintain a reasonable work-life balance. But current lifestyles in industrialised countries are an increasing cause for concern, with a steady rise in chronic illnesses related to eating habits, the widespread lack of exercise, smoking and dangerous levels of consumption of alcohol and other addictive substances.

Many illnesses are linked to only a small group of risk factors, including nutrition and exercise, which, in principle, can be controlled. A fast-living culture of over-consumption, quick profit and a throw-away attitude has far-reaching implications for the environment and health.

Issues to be explored include:

  • How can organisations foster healthier lifestyles among its workers?
  • What programmes and strategies can help change culture and provide information and opportunities?
  • How can managements support greater personal responsibility?



Speakers - Case Stories


Input presenter:

Case story presentations:

  • Magnox North, United Kingdom:
    Greg Evans
    Site Director/Site Executive
  • Deutsche Post AG, Germany:
    Dr. Andreas Tautz
    Chief Medical Officer, Corporate Health Management
  • MOL Group, Hungary:
    Dr. István Miniska
    Occupational Health Medical Advisor, SD & HSE Organization
  • RWE Energy AG, Germany:
    Dr. Christian Feldhaus
    Vice President of Occupational Health, RWE Power AG/RWE AG

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