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Work participation is central to human well-being. Whether and how people participate in work remains a key determinant of health and health inequalities.1 Regulating and enforcing safe and fair working conditions (including employment conditions, such as type of contract, salary, occupational hazards and social protection benefits) are essential to maintain and improve health and reduce disparities. Some contend regulations destroy jobs and businesses without actually protecting worker health. This debate reflects a broader public policy difference between those who defer to the ability of the labour market to self-regulate and those who believe that competitive labour markets are imperfect and must be regulated. In fact, in the most recent European Survey of Enterprises at Work and Emerging Risks,2 90% of 36 000 responding public and private companies with more than 10 employees from 31 countries indicated their major reason for addressing health and safety measures was ‘fulfilment of legal obligations.’ Access to sound scientific evidence could support a more balanced …
Contributors All authors have contributed and reviewed the Editorial.
Funding Partially by the Spanish Institute of Health Carlos III (PI11/01470).
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.