reality for European Union workers over the last decade. Employees may be working somewhat shorter hours but their pace of work has increased, in certain cases markedly. One in three workers complain of backache related to their job. Nearly half complain of working in a painful/tiring position while over half are working at very high speed to tight deadlines for one quarter of their working day.
In 2000 NIOSH sponsored a limited effort to fill the long gap in knowledge about the distribution of working conditions in the workforce (Murphy, 2002). Its approach was to add a module on quality of work life to the 2002 General Social Survey, a biannual, personal interview survey of U.S. households conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). A quality-of-work-life module was developed by NIOSH with advice from a multidisciplinary panel, but space constraints limited the size of the module to one-quarter the size of the 1977 QES. Results are still being tabulated.