Working Environment Survey

March 2000


Introduction

From February 9 to March 15, 2000, Emor Ltd. carried out a study about working environment in companies'/institutions' that operate in Estonia.
The study was commissioned by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs cooperation with the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs. The ownership right of the survey results belongs to the Client .

The purpose of the survey was to find out companies'/institutions' representatives assessments to their company's working environment - to occupational health and occupational safety, but also to get an overview of employees' assessments. Due to that the survey consists of two independent sides:

  1. companies'/institutions' survey, where employer's assessments to working environment were observed;
  2. employees' survey, where employees evaluated different parameters of their working environment.

Employers' survey was conducted between February 28 to March 07 in 2000. In total 402 companies'/institutions' representatives were interviewed in different areas of Estonia. The survey method was telephone interviewing and it was conducted by using computer administrated telephone interviewing software Ci3 WinCATI.

Employees' survey was conducted on the frame of Omnibus-type survey in three periods: February 9 to February 16, February 23 to March 1 and March 8 to March 15 in 2000, in total 797 employees, who were found by random sampling in different areas of Estonia, responded to the questionnaire about their working environment.

The first part of the report contains employers assessments to their company's/institution's working environment and in the second part have been shown comparatively employees' assessments. The survey results are presented in the form of graphs and short comments.

The methodology and sample description along with the fieldwork questionnaire are presented in Appendix.

1. Findings of Employers' Survey

Before we start to look the results of the survey, we briefly introduce the presentation of the results. As it is known, more than 70% of companies/institutions who operate in Estonia have less than 20 employees. At the same time about one third of inhabitants who work, are employed in these companies/institutions. When composing the sample of the survey, non-proportional extract from the sample was made based on the number of employees, in order to find out, what kind of working environment problems in general there are in the companies that operate in Estonia and at the same time that it could be possible to observe bigger companies' group problems and given assessments to their working environment. It means that on the breakdown of the main activity and the region, the interviewed companies are in the same proportion like in the universe, but in case of the breakdown of the number of employees among the interviewed companies, there are substantially more companies with bigger number of employees than in the universe of the survey.

When analysing the survey' results of the companies with different number of employees, the data is presented without weighting. But the results of the entire Estonia are presented in weighted on the graphs in different segments.

1.1 Characterization of Companies/ Institutions

Graph 1 shows the distribution of companies/institutions in Estonia, based on the number of employees, settlement type, region, foreign ownership/share and on directions to different markets. The data, according to the number of employees has been presented in two ways - companies weighted, according to the distribution of the all Estonia and based on the actual distribution of respondents. In case of the other parameters the distribution of respondents and companies/institutions correspond to the register.

Graph 2 shows the distribution on the breakdown of the main activity. The distribution according to the activities shows that the sample represents actually companies-institutions from different field of activities. The number of respondents (402) does not allow showing the results in the analysis by each line of businesses. Due to that companies which deal with agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishery have been unified into primary sector' group and mining, different processing companies and power engineering to the secondary sector companies' group. Considering peculiarity of certain fields, then separately have been pointed out from the secondary sector companies' construction and transportation-warehousing-communication, but when considering the responses of these fields' representatives, should be kept in mind that according to random selection only 24 and 16 companies respectively, were interviewed. In case of tertiary sector the data processing was conducted separately in case of trade companies, business- and personal service companies and education-, culture-, healthcare institution, local and state authorities.

1.2 Attitude towards Arrangements of Their Own Company's/ Institution's Working Environment

1.2.1 Awareness of the Requirements of the Law of Occupational Health and Occupational Safety

The Law of Occupational Health and Occupational Safety has been adopted in Estonia, the law sets certain requirements, considering already the requirements that are forced in the European Union. Graph 3 shows Estonian employers' awareness of the requirements to the working environment, set by the law. Only 5% of all respondents are not aware of the requirements of the law. Somewhat smaller is the awareness in transportation-warehousing-communication and business- and personal service companies (9% is not aware).

On the breakdown of the number of employees, precisely in smaller companies, less than 10 employees, are less aware of the law (9% is not aware). In the bigger companies 98%-100% of respondents are aware of the law. In case of the other background characteristics like region, settlement type and existence of foreign share, there are no big differences compared to the average awareness of the law.

1.2.2 Working Conditions Compliance to the Requirements of the Law

Respondents were asked to give assessments on a 10-points scale to their company's-institution's working conditions compliance to the requirements set by the law. The results have been presented on Graph 4.

In case we read assessments between 1-4 points negative (working conditions in general do not correspond to the requirements of the law), assessments between 5-6 points an average (appears relevant deficiencies) and assessments between 7-10 points positive (working conditions in general correspond to the requirements set by the law), then 79% of companies' representatives evaluate working conditions in their companies/institutions in general corresponding to the requirements. Tertiary sector companies: trade-, business- and personal service companies evaluate their working condition correspondence to the requirements set by the law more than the average.

Primary sector companies see more deficiencies in their working conditions (53% gave assessments between 3-6 points). Also transportation-communication-warehousing companies gave lower than the average assessments to their companies' working conditions. Among construction companies the differentiation among the companies is bigger than in case of the other field of activities - different companies evaluate their working conditions differently.

Observing companies with different number of employees, then precisely smaller companies evaluate their working conditions more corresponding to the requirements set by the law. It is so, because the field of activity, bigger mobility, later foundation has enabled to take immediately into consideration contemporary requirements in case of working condition.

The abovementioned showed respondents' assessments to their company's working conditions. In addition to that the respondents were asked if the Estonian National Labor Inspection had inspected their company/institution and what were the results of the inspecting. Like it could be seen on graph 5, the Estonian National Labor Inspection has inspected 58% of companies/institutions that operate in Estonia. As the result of the inspecting, the National Labor Inspection made dictations to 56% of the companies, everything was in order in 41% of companies.

More frequently than the average has the Estonian National Labor Inspection inspected companies, whose respondents evaluated their working condition less than the average corresponding to the requirements set by the law. The Estonian National Labor Inspection has inspected 83% of transportation-communication-warehousing companies and more than 70% of industrial-, construction- and primary sector companies.

More frequently than the average has the Estonian National Labor Inspection inspected also companies with bigger number of employees - 87% of companies with 50-149 employees and 95% of companies with more than 150 employees, at the same time in case of the companies with less 10 employees the Inspection has inspected 41%.

Taking into consideration that the Estonian National Labor Inspection has made considerably more dictations to inspected primary sector companies (to 93% inspected companies), industrial - (80%) and transportation companies (70%), and less to trade (34%) and the other tertiary sector companies - 52%, it can be said, that respondents assessments to their company's/institution's working conditions are principally the same as inspectors' assessments.

1.2.3 Attitudes towards Improvement of the Working Environment

For explanation, how important interviewed companies consider working environment role in terms of success, they were asked to evaluate which of the two statements they favor, either:

A. Good working environment is a presumption to an effective activity or

B. Working environment is only a background, to what should be paid attention so much, that it wouldn't inhibit working.

Graph 6 shows the distribution of respondents according to the favor of their opinion. Like it could be seen, majority has favored the standpoint: working environment has been seen as a presumption of successful company, compared to the opinion that working environment is so important that it wouldn't inhibit working. 80% of companies, which deal with business and personal service or have foreign share and 95% of companies with more than 150 employees consider the role of working environment the first statement more important and favor more frequently than the average.

39% of interviewed companies have a certain plan of activities to improve working conditions, 18% of companies/institutions are composing the plan (graph 7). More frequently than the average is the plan of activities in composing phase in the primary sector companies (36%), 56% of construction and 49% of industry companies already have the plan.

The more employees there are in the company, the more frequently there is or is in composing phase also the plan of activities to improve working conditions.

At the same time it should be mentioned, that if there is no plan of activity, it does not mean that working conditions are not improved according to the plan. In case of 48% of business- and personal service' companies and 49% of trade companies, the absence of the plan of activities means also that they have already dealt with working conditions and everything is in order. At the same time 57% of transportation-, communication- and warehousing companies do not have a plan of activity to improve working conditions, it rather shows that there is a space for development in the attitude level, when considering that respondents gave more negative assessments to their company's working environment than the average.

Also in companies with smaller number of employees, may the absence of the plan of activity rather mean, that working conditions are in order - also smaller companies are regularly later established, they are operating less in fields, where bigger investments are needed for improving working environment and they are able to make changes in a shorter period of time.

The latter can be confirmed by the fact that smaller companies take into consideration also more employees' proposals when improving working conditions (graph 8). Bigger companies and from the field of activities - construction- and primary sector companies can less afford to consider proposals made by their employees.

1.2.4 Comparison of Working Environment with the Other Companies in the Same Field

Graph 9 gives a general picture how companies/institutions evaluate their working environment compared to the other companies in the same field in Estonia. 40% of interviewed companies evaluate their company's working conditions somewhat better, 45% affirm it to be in the same level as the average and 8% considers it worse. Taking into account that practically all activities' companies assessments are similar, we can affirm that less than a half of companies from different fields have achieved better results compared to the other companies in the same field.

Compared to the smaller companies, the bigger companies and companies with more than 150 employees consider their working environment better on the frame of the same field of activity in Estonia, even though the Estonian National Labor Inspection has made more dictations to them.

1.3 Assessments to Different Sides of Company's Working Environment

Above we analysed general assessments to different sides of company's working environment. Now we will look, how different parameters of the working environment have been evaluated. The respondents were asked to give assessments to different sides of their company's/institution's working environment on a 10-points scale, where 1 means negative and 10 points positive side. The results have been shown on graph 10 both, in percentages and on the average assessments.

Mental stress received the most negative assessment from different sides of working environment. It is understandable as the factor appears in case of all field of activities and different size of companies, when at the same time for example physical load of the job or its dangerousness appears only in case of some field of activities or occupations - first of all in primary and secondary sector companies. Assessments to working conditions, design/furniture of the workplace and work related daily living conditions received less negative assessments - also in this case primary and secondary sector companies had more problems.

1.3.1 Risk to Health

Respondents were asked also to evaluate on a 10-points scale their employees' risk to impair their health at work.

Like it can be see on graph 11, more than two third of respondents consider the risk to their employees' health sufficiently low (1-4 points). Primary sector-, construction- and industrial companies' representatives evaluate the risk to employees' health significantly higher than the average.

Graph 12 shows factors that have been evaluated as risk factors to employees' health. 18% of interviewed companies do not see any risk factor, that would endanger employees health in their company's/institution's work and working environment. 90% of these companies belong to tertiary sector.

The most frequently mentioned risk factor that also endangers health is similarly to the evaluations of the working environment - mental stress, especially in institutions, business- and personal service and transportation companies. In the latter ones occurs together with mental stress also forced position, monotonousness, which in case of transportation companies was brought out as the most frequent risk factor to employees' health - more than 60% times.

Trade companies' representatives evaluate imperfect ventilation as more frequent risk factor (30%), construction companies: physical load (53%), dust (51%), imperfect ventilation (42%), temperature and noise (39%).

Both industry and primary sector companies mentioned as the main risk factor to the employees' health - noise (54% and 78% respectively). In primary sector it occurs together with the danger of vibration (74%), physical load (68%), fluctuation of temperature (59%) and more frequently than the average - work monotonousness (47%).

1.3.2 Employees' Sickening

Despite of the fact that companies from different field of activities evaluate risk factors to employees' health differently, there are no significant differences in assessments to employees' sickness problems. Due to that, on graph 13 has been given general picture about the evaluations, how employees' sicknesses cause problems to employers. Like it can be seen, only seasonal diseases are problems to companies and in about half of the respondents' evaluations these diseases bother their activities. Occupational diseases and the other health problems are bothering factors only for some companies.

In the reality, only some companies have thoroughly analyzed the current topic - like it could be seen on graph 14, only 8% of companies have tried to evaluate the economical loss that has been caused by employees' sicknesses. Bigger companies, with more than 150 employees, have done it more frequently than the average (19%), but 67% of all of those who have tried to evaluate that, were not able to give the concrete amount of money spent in 1999. That is why it is also impossible to estimate companies' economical loss, caused by employees' sicknesses. Nine companies estimated the economical loss caused by employees sicknesses approximately 39 000 EEK per one year.

In addition to the abovementioned sicknesses, also work related accidents during the last three years were observed in the survey (graph 15). In total, in 12% of companies, that operate in Estonia have been taken place work-related accidents. More frequently than the average the accidents have appeared in primary sector-, industrial-, construction- and transportation companies.

Predominantly the reasons of the work-related accidents have been employee negligence, which has been followed by not work-related reasons - mainly accidents on the way to work of from work to home.

1.4 Expenditures on Working Environment

The overview of different type of expenditures made by companies to their employees and to the working environment is given on graph 16.

On average, each company has made different type of expenditures during 1999 4,2 times. Majority of companies have made expenditures on improvement of working- and work-related daily living conditions and purchase of working clothes and personal protection equipment. More frequently than the average have made different working environment and employees-related expenditures primary and secondary sector companies, including those whose assessments to their company's working environment were lower than the average.

Graph 17 shows expenditures made during 1999 by companies'/institutions' that operate in Estonia, on improvements of working environment in total amount estimation together with probability limits.

The highest expenditures are related to improvement of working conditions - with probability of 95% between 1,13-3,06 billion EEK, it is followed by expenditures on improvement of work-related daily living conditions - between 0,49-0,72 billion EEK and on working clothes and personal protection equipment - 0,22-0,4 billion EEK.

Graph 18 shows different expenditures made by companies in connection with employees' health. The biggest amounts have been spent on employees' sporting possibilities - with probability of 95%, 113-215 million EEK, it is followed by almost on the same level expenditures on health control, occupational health and -safety training and making of health insurance contracts. The other employees' health related expenditures are lower.

In total, the expenditures made by companies'/institutions' for working environment and employees' health-related factors per one year are with probability of 95% between 3,45-4,47 billion EEK.

Like we can see on graph 16, depending on the type of expenditures, they apply to 15-81% of companies. Of those companies, who had not made any certain type of expenditures on working environment or employees' health-related factors during 1999, were asked how necessary would they evaluate that the employer makes such kind of expenditures. The results have been presented on graph 19. Like it can be seen, three-quarter of companies, who did not make expenditures on improvement of working- and work-related daily living conditions during the previous year, considered the expenditures necessary. Also explanation of occupational safety questions to employees was evaluated very necessary.

1.4.1 Factors that Need Improvements in Working Environment

The respondents were asked to name also concrete factors that need to be improved in their company's working environment. 44% of respondents brought out some kind of concrete factors. Findings are presented on graph 20.

The abovementioned improvements presume relatively big investments. Respondents gave sums between 2000 EEK up to 20-30 million EEK. The last one means practically constructing a new building. Considering partially very approximately given assessments by respondents and also the fact that 67% of all interviewed companies were not able to name a certain number that they would spent on making changes in the working environment, it is not correct to extend the results in order to find out the investment needs of all companies/institutions that operate in Estonia.

1.5 Arrangement of Working Environment Activities

To find out, who follow the situation of the working environment, companies' representatives were asked the existence of different specialists and of this field's labor body in their companies.

The overview of those who deal with working environment in companies/institutions is given on graph 21. Only in less than a half of the companies operates working environment representative, trustee, working environment specialist or working environment council.

In 81% of companies with less than 10 employees is not operating a person/council who follows or analyzes working environment, 38% of companies with 10-49 employees, 19% of companies with 50-149 employees and only 3% of companies with more than 150 employees do not have corresponding specialist or council.

When looking the evaluations of different persons' efficiency to the improvement of working environment, we can see that only some companies, where relevant persons' work, estimate their work very efficient and half up to 2/3 of interviewed companies sufficient. Therefore, the relevant specialists have not found sufficient employment in their positions.

In addition to specialists who work inside the company, firms have a possibility to include to working environment analysis also external, Occupational Healthcare Service' specialist. Relatively few companies use that possibility - in 1999, 13% of interviewed companies had ordered external specialist to working conditions analysis (graph 23), but more frequently than the average this has been done by companies with bigger number of employees - quarter of companies with 50-149 employees and about half (46%) of companies with 150 and more employees.

The specialist's help has been mainly used for conducting workplace risk analysis and consulting companies' in occupational health and -safety questions (graph 24).

2 Findings of Employees' Survey

The survey was conducted on the frame of Emor Omnibus-type survey, among 1500 inhabitants of Estonia, who are at the age of 15-74 years. The sample is formed based on the model of inhabitants of Estonia at the relevant age and is representative on the breakdown of region, settlement type, gender, age and nationality.

The target group of the survey are inhabitants who work, because of that, to the questions concerning working environment replied only those of 1500 people who got to the sample, who worked - in total 797 persons.

2.1 Characterization of Respondents

Due to the reason, that employees' survey is observed comparatively with the survey conducted in the companies'/institutions' that operate in Estonia, we will not first of all pay attention to respondents' social-demographical background, but to the field of activities and the size of the companies, where they work. In total, among inhabitants at the age of 15-74 years, 53% of those who got to the sample work, which means that after the extension to the universe, it appears that 584 500 22000 persons work.

Graph 25 shows the distribution of inhabitants who are occupied with work among companies'/institutions' with different field of activities and on graph 26 among different number of employees. The presented distribution characterizes also the reality, considering the distribution of occupied inhabitants according to the field of activities and size of companies.

2.2 Satisfaction with Their Company's/Institution's Working Environment

The respondents were asked to give assessments to the satisfaction of different sides of their working environment. The results are presented on graph 27.

The most satisfied are respondents with relations between employees, also 30% of respondents were "very satisfied" with their working hours flexibility. Very satisfied with their company's working culture and working conditions are 15% and 16% of respondents respectively and rather satisfied 65% and 61%. This is all employees' evaluation, which characterizes different companies' employees assessments. When looking at the assessments of employees who work for companies in different field of activities and number of employees, then we can say the following:

    1. With the relations at work, are above the average satisfied employees who work in transportation-communication-warehousing companies (47% are very satisfied). The other rule is that the fewer employees there are in the company, the better assessments to the relations between employees are given. 43% of respondents who work for companies with less than 9 employees are very satisfied with the relations at work, in companies with 10-49 employees 32%, in companies with 50-149employees 24% and in companies with 150 and more employees only 23%. The percentage of those who are dissatisfied with the relations at work is the highest in the group of companies with bigger number of employees - 22% are rather dissatisfied or are not satisfied at all.
    2. There are more employees, who are satisfied with the flexibility of working hours in business- and personal service companies (41%) and less than the average in primary sector- (18%), secondary sector- (23%) and construction companies (20%). The percentage of dissatisfied employees is the highest in the industrial companies (in total 27%). Depending on the number of employees, those, who work for smaller companies, evaluate higher their satisfaction with the flexibility of working hours; it was similar also in case of the relations at work.
    3. There are no important differences in the satisfaction with working culture. Companies with up to 9 employees are somewhat more satisfied with the working culture and companies with more than 150 employees less satisfied.
    4. Working conditions is the aspect, where dissatisfaction was higher compared to the abovementioned parameters. Employees who work in the industrial companies are more dissatisfied with their working conditions than the average (in total 33%). Employees from the primary sector companies are compared to the average more dissatisfied (21%), but among them are relevantly less employees who are very satisfied with their working conditions (4%). It is very probably so, because people who work for primary sector companies have less possibilities to choose among jobs, already because of their living area. In case of the absence of choice, people don't directly express their dissatisfaction but the satisfaction with working conditions remains lower. Depending on the number of employees, there are no remarkable differences in the satisfaction of working conditions.

Looking at the assessments to the satisfaction of different factors depending on the position of the respondent in the company - if she/he is manager, specialist, clerk or worker (skilled- and regular worker), then less satisfied with working culture, working conditions and also flexibility of working hours are workers. The exception is relations between employees; with what are more satisfied especially workers.

In addition to assessments to satisfaction, the respondents were asked to evaluate also on a 10-points scale different parameters of their working environment. Working environment parameters are ranked according to the average assessments and are presented on graph 28. Compared to employees' and employers' assessments to the same sides of working environment - their assessments are quite similar. It means, that employers understand quite well what are the problematic parameters of their working environment.

Looking at managers'/specialists'/clerks' assessments to especially their job's different sides, then in case of all parameters, except mental stress, they give more positive assessments than workers.

Inhabitants who work gave compared to the other aspects the most positive average assessment to job dangerousness. This is because the danger at work takes more place only in some sectors, mainly in transportation-communication-warehousing companies, where 40% of employees evaluated their job dangerousness with 1-4 points, 34% of industrial-, power engineering- companies gave 1-4 point assessments and also employees in construction companies gave somewhat more lower assessments than the average.

Primary sector- and industrial- but also construction companies' employees gave remarkably more frequently negative assessments than the average to their working conditions and tertiary sector employees but also representatives of companies with smaller number of employees gave more positive assessments.

Work-related daily living conditions in the workplace have compared to the working conditions received more negative assessments. 41% of construction, 36% of industrial- and 29% of primary sector employees gave 1-4 points, it means negative assessments, to their working conditions. Higher assessments to working conditions were given by tertiary sector employees, especially it applies to business- and personal sector companies.

Workplace design/furniture received lower assessments than the average in primary sector- and secondary sector employees and more positive from employees who work for tertiary sector. Depending on the number of employees, there were no substantial differences.

Job influence to the health was the most negatively evaluated by employees who work for industrial- and transportation-communication-warehousing companies (1-4 points - 33% and 26% respectively).

Physical difficulties of the job is the biggest problem in primary sector companies (38% gave 1-4 points), it is followed based on the negative assessments by industrial- (35%), construction- and transportation-communication-warehousing companies (30%).

Mental stress is a working environment factor that has received the most negative assessments both by employers and employees. It is mainly because if in case of the other aspects there are more problems in primary and secondary sector companies, then stress is characteristic to all sectors, but especially strong to those who work in tertiary sector. Mental stress is the side of the working environment in case of what negative assessments exceed the relative importance of positive ones. The bigger the number of employees in the company, the stronger the employees evaluate the mental stress. It can be the result of the case that, in smaller companies better relations between employees at work relieve stress.

Graph 29 shows the factors that cause mental stress to those employees, who said that they have strong mental stress at work (gave 1-3 points). Like it can be seen, the most widely spread mental stress causing factors, according to the nature of work are: dangerousness, big responsibility, communication with clients.

In case of managers/specialists the most frequently brought out stress caused factors were big responsibility (22%), also communication with clients and stress caused by the nature of job.

2.1.2 Work Influence to the Health

Respondents were asked to evaluate the risk to get occupational disease or the other work-related diseases on a 10-points scale. The findings have been presented on graph 30. Like it can be seen, approximately one third of the respondents estimate the risk to their health relatively high (7-10 points). It is much more than the number of those, who evaluated the work influence to the health harmful (21%). Compared to employers' assessments, employees evaluated risk factor that were caused by their work to their health higher.

Workers consider the risk to their health the highest - 40% of all workers evaluate the risk to their health with 7-10 points.

Transportation-, primary sector-, industrial- and construction companies' employees consider the risk to get occupational or the other diseases the highest, it is similar to employers assessments.

The risk factors to health, named by respondents, have been showed on graph 31. Only 15% of employees say that there is no risk in their job to get work-related diseases. 18% of employers' representatives told that there is no risk to employees' health in their company. Similarly to employers' assessments, more frequently than the average evaluated no risk to the health - business- and personal service companies' (22%) and trade companies' (19%) employees.

Employees mention more frequently as health endangering factors mental stress, dust, noise and physical load. The general picture has been given on graph 31.

According to the field of activities, risk factors to health are evaluated differently. Based on employees' assessments, we will give the three most frequently mentioned risk factors to the health in case of every group of activity and the average number of risk factors named by that field' employees.

The risk factors to the health are:

Depending on the position the respondent holds in the company, also assessments to risk factors are different. Managers, specialists, but also clerks have from the risk factors certainly on the first position mental stress (mentioned by 61%-46%), but in case of workers dust, noise and physical load (43%-38%).

2.1.3 Expectations to the Working Environment

Employees' expectations to working environment are shown on graph 32. The most frequently has been brought out as the higher satisfaction assuring factor with the working environment: changes in wage system and improvement in salary conditions. The other factors have been mentioned relevantly less by smaller number of employees.

Managers' expectations are more frequently than the average related to enlargement and repairing of rooms, purchasing up-to-date equipment, organization of jobs.

2.2 Observation of Working Environment in the Company

2.2.1 Assessments to Employer's Attitude and Activities in Improving Working Environment

Employees' assessments to how much the employer pays attention to the working conditions has been given on graph 33. About a half of the respondents said that employer follows that working conditions were principally in order, less than a quarter told that the employer tries to ensure as good working conditions as possible and approximately the same amount of respondents said that the attention is rather formal or does not exist at all. 33% of employees who work in industrial companies evaluate employers' activities more negatively - more formal. Here two so called adverse factors run across - first, the entire sector, where are more often deficiencies and secondly, there are more employees in industrial companies.

Compared to the other employees' categories also workers are more negative in their evaluations to employer's attitude.

Graph 34 shows arrangements that in employees' estimations have been used in their companies during the last two years in employer's initiative. 21% of employees were not able to evaluate, what has been done in their companies during the last two years. Primary sector employees were more often unaware what had been done in their companies. There are no differences in exploitation of different arrangements according to the working status in the company. During the last year the employers have somewhat more frequently trained/instructed workers in work-related accidents' questions (55%) and directed them to health control (40%), but rarer have employers improved workers' working conditions.

Compared to the general picture more attention has been paid to work-related accidents' questions in transportation- (61%) and industrial companies' (58%) employees' opinion.

Working conditions have during the last years more frequently improved in service and public sector companies' employees' opinion (43% and 46%) and less often in the estimations of primary sector employees (16%).

Health control has been done more frequently to transportation- (54%) and industrial companies' (40%) employees, rarer to service- (20%), trade- (22%) and primary sector companies' employees.

Surveys, measurements of the working conditions have been made more frequently in transportation (33%) and industrial (31%) companies' employees' opinion and remarkably less in primary sector employees' opinion (12%).

First-aid training has been organized more frequently to transportation employees (28%) and less often in primary sector (4%).

Health insurance contracts have also been made more frequently to transportation employees (29%).

From those respondents, whose companies were not exploited the above mentioned working environment arrangements, were asked in case of each arrangement their assessments to its' usefulness. The results are presented on graph 35. Compared to the given average assessments, workers consider more important organization of measurements, surveys of the working conditions (38% of respondents consider it very necessary), regular health control (38%), first-aid training (32%), make health insurance contracts (47%) and improvement of working conditions in the workplace (51%).

2.2.2 Existence of Persons who Deal with Working Environment Problems in the Company

Employees were asked, if they have a working environment representative in their company and how she/he fulfils the duties that have been given to her/him. The results are presented on graph 36. Only a quarter of employees were aware of the existence of a working environment representative in their company. 34% of transportation-, 32% of public sector- and 31% of industrial companies' employees' affirmed that there is a working environment representative in their company, business- and personal service companies' employees mentioned less often the existence of working environment representative in their companies (8%). Based on the number of employees in the company, those with more than 150 employees mentioned more frequently, that there is a working environment representative in their company (36%).

From the employees, who were aware of the working environment representative in their company said that he/she mediates employees' problems or at least he/she is ready to do it (56%). It means that considering existence and activities of the representative, he/she actually or potentially mediates employees' problems only for 14% of employees.

Working environment representative's practically unimportant role in solving problems can be understood, when looking at whom employees normally turn to with their working environment related problems. Like it can be seen on graph 37, the most frequently employees turn to company's manager or in case of bigger companies to a department manager.

Summary

From the working environment survey, conducted by Emor Ltd. in February-March 2000, appeared:

    1. 95% of companies/institutions that operate in Estonia are aware of the Law of Occupational Health and Occupational Safety. Somewhat less are informed about the requirements set by the law smaller companies with less than 10 employees, of whom 9% were not aware of the requirements.
    2. One third of all companies evaluate their working conditions completely corresponding and 46% generally corresponding to the requirements set by the law. Primary and secondary sector companies, but also companies with bigger number of employees give relevantly lower assessments and representatives of tertiary sector companies evaluated relevantly highly their working conditions' correspondence to requirements set by the law. This is affirmed with the fact that according to the respondents, the Estonian National Labor Inspection has as a result of their inspection, made dictations especially to the first ones.
    3. Majority of companies representatives are of the opinion that good working environment is a presumption to an effective activity, not a background, to what should be paid attention so much, that it wouldn't inhibit working. Bigger and tertiary sector companies are more ensured with the first standpoint.
    4. Companies with less than 10 employees evaluate themselves as more employees' suggestions considering ones.
    5. Giving assessments to different sides of the working environment, were the most negative evaluations given to mental stress that is caused by work, which appears practically in all field of activities. Physical difficulties of the job, work influence to health and its dangerousness were brought out as a negative side in case of their company by 15-18% of respondents. 50% of primary sector companies considered their job physically difficult and 29% considered their job to be dangerous.
      Assessments given by employers to different parameters of the working environment are almost the same in case of employees.
      Also employees brought out as the most negative factors - mental stress, 38% of primary sector employees considered their job physically difficult, work-related daily living conditions do not mainly satisfy construction employees (41%) and the work influence to health is evaluated more negatively by transportation-communication and primary sector companies' employees.
    6. 9% of employers evaluate their employees' risk to impair their health relatively big, but approximately one third of employees see the risk to the health in their work. More frequently see skilled- and regular workers the risk to health in their job. Primary and secondary sector employees consider the risk to get occupational or the other work-related diseases bigger and tertiary sector companies smaller. Also the corresponding sectors' companies' representatives gave similar assessments to the employees' risk to impair their health.
    7. A certain risk factors to the health depend on the field of activity the company operates and in which position the employee works. Primary- and secondary sector companies and also their employees see as risk factors more frequently than the average physical load, noise, dust and vibration, in case of tertiary sector in both sides' opinion the main risk factor to the health is mental stress. Mental stress is the most frequently seen risk factor to the health also by management, specialist and clerks (46-61%). Workers mentioned dust, noise and physical load (43-38%) as the most frequent risk factors.
    8. According to companies' assessments, occupational diseases and the other employees' health problems are not bothering problems for them. Only employees' seasonal diseases bother about a half of companies' work. At the same time the economical loss, caused by employees' sicknesses, have tried to estimate only 8% of responded companies, more frequently bigger companies. The numerical amount was able to mention only 9 companies, which is 2% of all companies.
    9. Every employer has made during the previous year on the average 4,2 different type of expenditures, which are related to the working environment and employees health. The most common expenditures are the improvement of working and work-related living conditions, purchasing of working clothes and personal protection equipment. More frequently than the average have primary- and secondary sector companies' made different expenditures to working environment, it means that these are companies, whose assessments to their company's working environment were lower.
    10. Compared to employers' and employees assessments to different working environment, employees health and safety related expenditures, then evaluations are in generally the same in case of directly to employees directed arrangements, like organizing health control and measurements of the working conditions, organizing first-aid trainings, making health insurance contracts. Improvement of working conditions is more than twice as frequently mentioned by companies than by employees. This is caused by the fact that working conditions are normally improved either by departments, offices or even by single rooms, which means that not all employees are aware of it.
    11. Total expenditures on working environment and employees' health during the previous year, have made by companies'/institutions' with the probability of 95% between 2,4-4,5 billion EEK. The biggest expenditures are related to the improvement of working environment - 1,13-3,06 billion EEK per year, expenditures on improvements of work-related living conditions (0,49-0,72 billion EEK) and working clothes (0,22-0,4 billion EEK). Health-related expenditures have been the highest on offering sporting possibilities (113-215 billion EEK per year).
    12. A half up to three-quarters of companies, who did not make any kind of expenditures on working environment, consider this type of expenditures necessary. The exception is making insurance contracts to employees and purchasing of working clothes, respectively 35% and 22% of companies who have not made that kind of expenditures, consider them necessary.
    13. As a reflection to the abovementioned things are employees' assessments, according to what 23% of them think that their employer tries to ensure as good working conditions as possible, in 49% of respondents' opinion their employer follows that basically everything were in order, according to 19% of respondents' assessments the attention to the working conditions is rather formal and 5% think that in their company the employer does not pay attention to the working conditions. Industrial companies' employees evaluate their employers' activities more negatively.
    14. Working environment specialist, who follows/organizes working environment-related activities, operates only in 42% of companies, in 5% of them works also working environment council. Up to 2/3 of respondents evaluates their efficiency sufficient and only some respondents very big.
    15. A quarter of employees were aware of the existence of a working environment representative in their company. Considering the assessments to the ability of the representative to mediate employees' problems, then the representative actually or potentially exists as the mediator of the problems only for 14% of employees. This is also affirmed by the fact that to working environment representative or working environment specialist have turned with their problems in the company only 4% of employees. The most frequently employees turn to company's manager or in case of bigger companies to a department manager.

 

Methodology

Sample in Case of Companies'/Institutions' Survey

The universe of the survey was composed by the united database of the Estonian Register of Companies (Eesti Ettevõtteregister) and Business Register (Äriregister). 28 829 operating companies and institutions composed the sample.

The distribution of companies was planned proportionally on the breakdown of areas (Tallinn, the other parts of Estonia) and activity sectors (primary sector, secondary sector and tertiary sector). On the breakdown of employees non-proportional extract was used, the purpose of this was to get analysis also from bigger companies group.

To receive a general picture, weighting was used for different distributions based on the number of employees in the sample.

Fieldwork in Case of Companies'/ Institutions' Survey

The fieldwork was carried out from February 28 to March 07 in 2000, by using computer administrated telephone interviewing software Ci3 WinCATI, that follows the usage of sample and direction of interviews. 4 Emor Ltd. interviewers carried out the fieldwork. The average length of an interview was 14,9 minutes.

Total of 1000 dials were made, 974 different phone numbers were dialed at least once. From what:

The respondent was the person, who is responsible of occupational health or occupational safety in the company - either working environment specialist or chief general manager

Sample in Case of Employees' Survey

The universes of Omnibus-type surveys are formed of the permanent residents of the Republic of Estonia at the age of 15 - 74, 1 102 842 people in total, as of January 1st, 1999.

The sample size is 500 (504) persons. The current survey was conducted on the frame of Omnibus-type survey in three periods, the sample was in total 1500 persons.

The sample is formed as self-weighting, i.e. that the proportional model of the universe where all the respondents represent the equal number of people in the universe, is used. To check the formed sample its socio-demographic structure, on the breakdown of gender, age, nationality and area of living is compared to the corresponding statistical data of the universe and if necessary, the data are weighed to ensure the representibility of the sample.

Sample Design and Actual and Weighted Distribution

 

 

Data of 01.01.99

Model

Actual divison

 

Weighted

 

 

Abs. no

%

No SP

Count

%

Weight

Count

%

TOTAL

 

1 102 842

100,00%

189

1 510

100,00%

 

1 510

100,00%

REGION

Tallinn

324 280

29,40%

57

453

30,00%

0,9779

443

29,34%

 

North-Estonia

155 780

14,13%

27

216

14,30%

0,9861

213

14,11%

 

West-Estonia

137 138

12,43%

24

193

12,78%

0,9741

188

12,45%

 

Tartu region

143 379

13,00%

24

192

12,72%

1,0260

197

13,05%

 

South-Estonia

131 499

11,92%

21

168

11,13%

1,0655

179

11,85%

 

Virumaa

210 766

19,11%

36

288

19,07%

1,0035

289

19,14%

SETTLEMENT TYPE

Capital

324 280

29,40%

57

453

30,00%

0,9779

443

29,34%

 

Big town

216 840

19,66%

36

298

19,74%

0,9966

297

19,67%

 

Other town

235 369

21,34%

39

303

20,07%

1,0627

322

21,32%

 

Village

326 353

29,59%

57

456

30,20%

0,9781

446

29,54%

SEX

Male

516 155

46,80%

 

757

50,13%

0,9326

706

46,75%

 

Female

586 687

53,20%

 

753

49,87%

1,0677

804

53,25%

AGE

15-24

209 128

18,96%

 

239

15,83%

1,1967

286

18,94%

 

25-34

204 185

18,51%

 

256

16,95%

1,0898

279

18,48%

 

35-49

311 000

28,20%

 

355

23,51%

1,1972

425

28,15%

 

50-64

245 618

22,27%

 

389

25,76%

0,8638

336

22,25%

 

65-74

132 911

12,05%

 

271

17,95%

0,6716

182

12,05%

NATIONALITY (estim.)

Estonians

 

65,20%

 

1 039

68,81%

0,9461

983

65,10%

 

Non-Estonians

 

34,80%

 

471

31,19%

1,1189

527

34,90%

Fieldwork in case of Employees' Survey

The interviews were conducted by using computer assisted personal interview (CAPI) method.

In case of a CAPI interview the questions of a questionnaire are on a lap top screen and answers are typed in promptly. Filters and rotations are pre-programmed, minimizing the possible mistakes in the questioning process.

In case of each three interviewing period, 38 Emor Ltd. interviewers who had undergone a special training carried out the fieldwork.

To interview 1500 people, the total number of contacts made is 2983, of which:

The above mentioned sample and survey description characterizes how the entire Omnibus type surveys' target group - respondents at the age of 15-74 years - has been found. The purpose of the current survey was to interview only those inhabitants, who work. Therefore, only those respondents at the age of 15-74 in the randomly selected families, who worked, answered to the questions about working environment. There were 797 people out of 1510 respondents or 53% who corresponded to the requirements.

Data Processing

SPSS for Windows ver. 6.1 was used for data processing in case of both surveys.

Assessments of the Findings Reliability Limits

All respondents' (800 people) assessments maximum error, in case of random sampling, cannot exceed ±3,5% in 95% reliability limits.

If a smaller target group is under observation then in the use of the results a bigger possible maximum sampling error should be taken into account, which does not exceed±10% when 100 respondents represent the target group. The table with the results reliability limits is presented below.

Proportional Assessment Maximum Error on 95% Reliability Level in case of Random Sampling

Division of respondents (magnitude)/

Sample size

50%

45%

55%

40%

60%

35%

65%

30%

70%

25%

75%

20%

80%

15%

85%

10%

90%

5%

95%

10

31,0%

30,8%

30,4%

29,6%

28,4%

26,8%

24,8%

22,1%

18,6%

13,5%

30

17,9%

17,8%

17,5%

17,1%

16,4%

15,5%

14,3%

12,8%

10,7%

7,8%

50

13,9%

13,8%

13,6%

13,2%

12,7%

12,0%

11,1%

9,9%

8,3%

6,0%

75

11,3%

11,3%

11,1%

10,8%

10,4%

9,8%

9,1%

8,1%

6,8%

4,9%

100

9,8%

9,8%

9,6%

9,3%

9,0%

8,5%

7,8%

7,0%

5,9%

4,3%

150

8,0%

8,0%

7,8%

7,6%

7,3%

6,9%

6,4%

5,7%

4,8%

3,5%

200

6,9%

6,9%

6,8%

6,6%

6,4%

6,0%

5,5%

4,9%

4,2%

3,0%

300

5,7%

5,6%

5,5%

5,4%

5,2%

4,9%

4,5%

4,0%

3,4%

2,5%

400

4,9%

4,9%

4,8%

4,7%

4,5%

4,2%

3,9%

3,5%

2,9%

2,1%

500

4,4%

4,4%

4,3%

4,2%

4,0%

3,8%

3,5%

3,1%

2,6%

1,9%

600

4,0%

4,0%

3,9%

3,8%

3,7%

3,5%

3,2%

2,9%

2,4%

1,7%

700

3,7%

3,7%

3,6%

3,5%

3,4%

3,2%

3,0%

2,6%

2,2%

1,6%

800

3,5%

3,4%

3,4%

3,3%

3,2%

3,0%

2,8%

2,5%

2,1%

1,5%

Team

Those participating in and responsible for different stages of the survey:

Client's Representatives:

Milvi Jänes, Liia Vaarmann

Survey Plan and Report:

Auni Tamm, Kristina Randver

Sample Design:

Helje Proosa

CATI Questionnaire Programmer:

Kai Paap

CAPI Questionnaire Programmer:

Mare Lepik

Fieldwork Co-ordination:

Birgit Hanson, Anu Ilves

Data Processing:

Kai Paap, Aivar Felding

Graphs:

Elvin Heinla, Kristina Randver

Translation into Russian:

Maria Repkina

Translation into English

Kristina Randver

 

Contact Information:

 

Phone:

(2) 626 8500

Fax:

(2) 626 8501

E-mail (dir.):

auni@emor.ee

E-mail:

emor@emor.ee

Address:

Ahtri 12, VI floor, 10151 Tallinn

 

Questionnaires

A survey of employers

A survey of employees

 

Graphics

Graph 1

Characterisation of Companies / Institutions

Graph 2

Characterisation of Companies / Institutions

Graph 3

Awareness of Requirements of the Law of Occupational Health and Occupational Safety

Graph 4

Companies` Working Conditions Compliance with the Law of Occupational Health and Safety

Graph 5

Inspection of the Estonian Labour Inspection. Results of Inspection of the Estonian National Labour Inspection

Graph 6

The Importance of Working Environment for Company

Graph 7

Existence of a Plan of Activities to Improve Working Conditions

Graph 8

Consideration of Proposals Made by Employees

Graph 9

Comparison of Working Environment with the Other Companies in Estonia in the Same Field

Graph 10

Assessments to Different Sides of Companies` Working Environment

Graph 11

Employees` Risk to Impair Their Health at Work

Graph 12

Factors that Endanger Employees` Health

Graph 13

Employees` Sickness as a Problem

Graph 14

Evaluation of Economical Loss Caused by Sicknesses

Graph 15

Appearance of Work Related Accidents During the Last 3 Months. Reasons of work related accidents.

Graph 16

Expenditures Made for Employees During the Last Year

Graph 17

Expenditures on Improvements of Working Environment (millions EEK)

Graph 18

Sums Spent on Employees` Health-related Risk Factors (millions EEK)

Graph 19

Assessments to the Importance of Working Environment and Health-related Expenditures

Graph 20

Factors that Need Improvements in Working Environment

Graph 21

In the company . . .

Graph 22

Assessments to Corresponding Occupation / Person Efficiency

Graph 23

Inclusion of Occupational Health Service or -Specialist into Working Condition Analysis

Graph 24

In What Field Occupational Health Service / Specialist has Helped

Graph 25

Distribution of Inhabitants Occupied with Work Among Companies with Different Field of Activities

Graph 26

How Many Employees Work for Your Company / Institution ?

Graph 27

How Satisfied are You with Different Sides of Your Working Environment ?

Graph 28

Assessments to Company` s Working Environment Different Sides

Graph 29

Factors That have Caused Mental Stress

Graph 30

Employees` Risk to Impair Their Health at Work

Graph 31

Factors that Endanger Employees` Health

Graph 32

Expected Changes in Working Environment

Graph 33

Paying Attention to Working Conditions

Graph 34

Exploitation of Arrangements for Improvement of Working Conditions

Graph 35

Assessments to Importance of Different Arrangements

Graph 36

Existence of Working Environment Representative, who Represents Employees` Interests

Graph 37

To Whom Usually Employees Turn with Their Problems