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Volume 73 Supplement 1

Methods in Epidemiology Symposium

Relationships between irregular work arrangements and occupational injuries in EU 27. Findings from the fifth European working condition survey


The associations between several measures of low employment quality and some specific health and safety outcomes have become the subject of more recent investigation. The main objective of our study is to examine the relationships between irregular work arrangements indicators including contract type, long working hours, multiple jobs, shift work, and occupational injuries, taking into account several sociodemographic and work characteristics.


The study was based on the data of the fifth European working condition survey (EWCS), carried out by Eurofound from January to June 2010. For the purpose of this analysis, the analytical sample was restricted to a subgroup of 26.839 respondents from the 27 countries of the European Union, who were all workers with either a permanent contract, a temporary or a fixed contract. Associations between irregular work arrangements and occupational injuries were studied with multilevel modeling techniques.


About 9% of the workers suffered from an occupational injury over the past twelve months. An increased injury risk is observed for those working long hours (OR 1.24, 95% confidence interval 1.13 - 1.36), having multiple jobs (OR 1.25, 95% confidence interval 1.07 - 1.45) and shift work (OR 1.23, 95% confidence interval 1.09 - 1.38). However, the relationship between contract type and work injuries was not significant (OR 0.30, 95% confidence interval 0.79 - 1.07).


This study confirms that indicators of irregular work arrangements, with the exception of contract type, were significantly associated with occupational injuries. More attention should be paid to workers with low employment quality. Further efforts on the workplace, the organizational and political level are needed to avoid irregular work arrangements in order to improve workers' health and safety.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Alali, H., Wahab, M.A., Van Hecke, T. et al. Relationships between irregular work arrangements and occupational injuries in EU 27. Findings from the fifth European working condition survey. Arch Public Health 73 (Suppl 1), P20 (2015).

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