"Work environment," as a conceptual framework for reforming working life, may not be readily transferable from the tangible conditions of the industrial context in which it was conceived to the more flexible conditions of modern labor. Since the flexible conditions of work generally presuppose an increased responsibility and some sort of personal commitment on the part of the worker, isolating the environmental conditions from the personal abilities of the worker is becoming more difficult. As a consequence, only to a limited extent can the problems of modern labor be interpreted as work environment issues and subjected to work environment measures. With the propagation of flexible working conditions, work environment institutions and their reform ambitions will be passed by. And work environment reforms, rather than being a practical task of coordinating different protective measures at workplaces, will be reduced to an argument within the ideologically motivated rejection of an increasingly polarized labor market.