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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Health and Safety at Work

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On the 6th June 2014, the European Commission adopted a European Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work for 2014-2020.

This new strategy was developed on the basis of the EU Occupational Health and Safety Strategy 2007-2012 and intended to take into consideration the evaluation and results of the previous framework obtained mainly by workers’ and employers’ representatives.

Security at works remains a priority in many EU countries even if many steps forward have been done. A report published by the European Agency fo... Read more

On the 6th June 2014, the European Commission adopted a European Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work for 2014-2020.

This new strategy was developed on the basis of the EU Occupational Health and Safety Strategy 2007-2012 and intended to take into consideration the evaluation and results of the previous framework obtained mainly by workers’ and employers’ representatives.

Security at works remains a priority in many EU countries even if many steps forward have been done. A report published by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work pointed out that in a year more than 4,000 workers die due to accidents at work and more than 3 million workers are victims of a serious accident at work. Moreover, 24.2% of workers consider that their health and safety is at risk because of their work. These results show that lot of work in this area still needs to be done.

Promoting safer and healthier working conditions will certainly improve the well-being and health of workers, but also will contribute to develop the productivity and the competitiveness of many companies. According to a report, indeed, each euro invested in prevention produces a return in profits in a range between 1.29 and 2.89.

But what does this Strategic Framework stand for?

It sets up three health and safety at work challenges aiming:
- To improve implementation of existing health and safety rules, in particular by enhancing the capacity of micro and small enterprises to put in place effective and efficient risk prevention strategies
- To improve the prevention of work-related diseases by tackling new and emerging risks without neglecting existing risks
- To take account of the ageing of the EU's workforce.

Some of the actions to be financed under this strategy are:

- Consolidating national health and safety strategies through policy coordination and mutual learning
- Providing practical support to small and micro enterprises to help them to better comply with health and safety rules
- Simplifying existing legislation where appropriate to eliminate unnecessary administrative burdens, while preserving a high level of protection for workers’ health and safety.
- Addressing the ageing of the European workforce and improving prevention of work-related diseases to tackle existing and new risks such as nanomaterials, green technology and biotechnologies.
- Improving statistical data collection to have better evidence and developing monitoring tools.
- Reinforcing coordination with international organisations and partners to contribute to reducing work accidents and occupational diseases and to improving working conditions worldwide

Are there any EU fundings available to support Health and Safety at work?

Two EU funds cans easily be mobilized in order to receive grants in this sector: the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme.
The first one will support actions aiming to promote sustainable, quality employment and social inclusion, such as measures to promote a healthy environment and well-being at work. The second one will finance actions to boost cooperation, communication and expertise in this area.

This Framework will be reviewed in 2016 in order have, in a way, a mid-term monitoring concerning its implementation and in order to integrate all the information of the on-going comprehensive evaluation of the EU occupational health and safety legislation.

Amendments can still be done as this strategy is just a proposal and then the European Parliament, the EU's Council of Ministers, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions will express their views and opinions.

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