Workplace Safety in Italy

I’m learning some new things about workers’ rights in Italy. At TVBLOB we have to elect (or, more likely, dragoon) a Rappresentante dei Lavoratori per la Sicurezza (Workers’ Safety Representative), who must take a 32-hour course (during working hours, paid for by the company) on how to keep us all safe on the job.

In our case, the most likely hazards to our health (besides the boss’ cigars) are the hours we all spend in front of computers. A pair of employees of the Milan health agency (ASL – Azienda Sanitaria Locale) came to test everyone’s vision and have us fill out a questionnaire on repetitive stress injury. No one is going blind yet, though one person has been told he must take a visual break five minutes out of every hour (which fits in nicely with his outdoor cigarette breaks). I was admonished to make sure that I keep on top of my glaucoma with regular visual field tests, and of course do my eyedrops every night.

It’s nice to see a public health system so proactive about workers’ health; it’s far better and cheaper to prevent problems up front than to cure them later.

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