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Council of Europe: social rights report. In several countries, workers poorly protected and right to health not sufficiently guaranteed

In 2021, the number of accidents at work, including fatal accidents, and occupational diseases is still high or increasing in many countries. And public healthcare expenditure remains too low. This is what emerges from the Conclusions 2021 published today by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) of the Council of Europe in respect of 33 States on the articles of the Social Charter relating to health, social security and social protection. In some cases, the national labour inspectorates “are not efficient enough due to staff shortages, low numbers of inspection visits or repeated absence of different types of information”, the ECSR reports. The Committee adopted 401 conclusions: 165 of non-conformity and 110 of conformity with the Charter. In 126 cases, the Committee “was unable to assess the situation due to insufficient information (‘deferrals’)”. In the digital or platform economy sectors, self-employed and domestic workers in some countries were not covered by occupational health and safety regulations. As for the right to health, the data on life expectancy shows that “wide differences exist between men and women, regions, urban and rural areas, levels of education and income”. Public healthcare expenditure “remains too low in certain countries and its right is not guaranteed sufficiently”. Several States have failed to take adequate measures to address “the persistently high levels of infant” mortality. With regard to the obligation of States to prevent epidemic, endemic and other diseases, the ECSR notes “the absence of efficient immunisation and epidemiological monitoring programmes, the lack of legislation prohibiting the sale and use of asbestos or the lack of sufficient measures to ensure access to safe drinking water in rural areas”.

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