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Healthy Workplaces for PHS Workers

EFSI is official partner of the OSHA campaign “Healthy Workplaces – Manage Dangerous Substances”

The Personal and Household Services (PHS) include a broad range of activities that contribute to well-being at home of families and individuals: child care, long term care for the elderly and for persons with disabilities, ironing, cooking, cleaning, gardening, remedial classes, small repair work, and home administrative tasks.

PHS workers are exposed to many sorts of risks such as physical risks, psychosocial risks, handling dangerous substances (cleaning products chemicals, substances present in dust, dirt or soot, patients’ medications) and the fact they mostly operate in private homes makes prevention particularly challenging.

However, only a small share of PHS workers benefit from OSH preventive measures and trainings. A large part of workers in Personal and Household Services are employed by private households and are therefore not covered by OSH legislation. In addition, undeclared work still prevails on the sector and it reaches 70% of the market in countries where no PHS supporting policies are implemented.

The European Federation for Services to Individuals believes that improving public awareness and understanding of the issue and its challenges in the Personal and Household Services sector is of fundamental importance. To this end, the European Federation for Services to Individuals has decided to join the campaign “Healthy Workplaces - Manage Dangerous Substances” as an official partner. The campaign is an initiative of the EU-OSHA, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and will run until end 2019.

EFSI recalls that ILO Convention 189 aims inter alia at ensuring protection of domestic workers, as it requires States to minimize work-related hazards, promote occupational safety in the household workplace, produce adequate statistics and develop suitable training programmes. Regrettably, to date in the EU the convention has been ratified only by 6 Member States (Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal) plus Switzerland. EFSI calls for the swift ratification of the convention in all European countries.