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The International Conference on Safety and Health at Work 2016

Does time kill?

New forms of working time, changed working time, its effect on working and on the worker’s health and other similar topics were discussed at the international occupational health and safety conference titled “Does time kill?” held on 25 April. It was also debated, if we need a new working time regulation considering the changed conditions. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas opened the conference.

Director General of the Labour Inspectorate Maret Maripuu said in the opening speech that new working time forms make working more flexible and convenient. “Enabling working outside of the office begins with trust – does the employer trust the employee enough to believe that they will get their tasks done while away from the office. The employee must prove their reliability with excellent work,” said Maripuu. “At the same time, increased flexibility often means losing track of time and limits, and doing more work. Quality work, however, needs quality rest. It is important to preserve our health and safe working manners,” she added.

Conference main speaker Sarah Wulfert, occupational psychologist from Germany, also spoke about flexible working time and working away from the office. Counsellor of Petitions of the Council of State of France Jérôme Marchand-Arvier revealed the details of the French work law reform. Norwegian National Institute of Occupational Health researcher Jenny-Anne Sigstad Lie spoke about Norway’s experience with working on shortened working time. Swedish Work Environment Authority Psychologist and Occupational Environment Specialist Ulrich Stoetzer provided an overview of the latest trends in working environment in Sweden.

Kristjan Port from Tallinn University discussed how to preserve health at work. Unimed Sleep Centre Chief Doctor Heisl Vaher pondered on the effects of social sleep deprivation on an effective employee.

Elisa personnel manager Kaija Teemägi, Estonian Employers Confederation representative Toomas Tamsar, Estonian Trade Union Confederation representative Peep Peterson, Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee of the Estonian parliament Aivar Kokk and member of the Economic Affairs Committee Kristen Michal participated in a debate over the necessity of new work regulation.

The conference was funded by the European Social Fund.