Today, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) kicks off the Healthy Workplaces Summit 2022. The conference aims to highlight the knowledge and experience accumulated over the past two years from the ‘Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load’ campaign.
EU-OSHA’s ‘Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load’ campaign has helped to raise awareness about how to effectively prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders, which remain a major concern. I commend the campaign partners for their commitment and look forward to a lively exchange of views at the Summit on how we can do more to protect workers’ health.
Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights
Leading European experts and decision makers gather in Bilbao on 14-15 November to reflect on the major outcomes of the campaign and share insights on future strategies to effectively prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) (impairments of muscles, joints and tendons).
Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, underlines the campaign’s achievements so far:
“Making sure that the place where we work is safe, fit for purpose and maintains workers’ health is one of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Last year the Commission presented the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027 which aims to manage change, improve prevention and increase preparedness. EU-OSHA’s ‘Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load’ campaign has helped to raise awareness about how to effectively prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders, which remain a major concern. I commend the campaign partners for their commitment and look forward to a lively exchange of views at the Summit on how we can do more to protect workers’ health.”
The extent of the issue is explained by EU-OSHA Interim Executive Director, William Cockburn:
“MSDs are preventable, yet they remain the most common work-related health problem in Europe. Both physical and psychosocial risk factors (such as excessive workloads) contribute to the development or exacerbation of MSDs. The situation has undoubtedly been worsened by changes in the working environment, most recently driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our recent OSH Pulse survey confirms that 30% of workers suffer from bone, joint or muscle problems or pain, 27% from stress, depression or anxiety, and 37% from overall fatigue. This trend, unfortunately, is likely to continue within post-pandemic workplaces. Let’s continue working to decrease such figures!”
The opening session sees several high-level speakers take to the stage to discuss how to ‘lighten the load’ for workers across the EU, including:
- Nicolas Schmit, EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights,
- Yolanda Díaz Pérez, Second Vice President and Minister of Labour and Social Economy, Spanish Government,
- Idoia Mendia Cueva, Second Vice President and Minister of Labour and Employment, Basque Government, and
- Dragoş Pîslaru, Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, European Parliament.
Kateřina Štěpánková, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs representing the Czech EU Council Presidency, contributes to this conversation with a video statement.
Researchers and representatives from national and European authorities share their views in three parallel sessions: challenges and innovative solutions for inspections of MSDs in enterprises; effective support for chronic MSDs; and the link between MSDs and psychosocial risks.
The discussions don’t stop there, with the Summit promising more interesting insights regarding OSH in the new world of work: a keynote speech on ‘Making algorithms safe for workers’ followed by a panel discussion around the topic.
One of the Summit’s highlights is the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards ceremony, putting the spotlight on the eight award-winning and eight commended organisations for their innovative MSD prevention measures.
The event also features the EU-OSHA EEN OSH Promotion Awards 2022. Through this Awards programme, EU-OSHA and the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) collaborate to raise awareness of the importance of OSH to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
We invite everyone with an interest in OSH and MSDs to watch the Summit live streamed online. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter using the hashtags #EUOSHAsummit and #EUhealthyworkplaces.
Finally, EU-OSHA also looks ahead to the next edition of the Healthy Workplaces 2023-25 campaign: ‘Safe and healthy work in the digital age’ to be launched in October 2023.