Reaching into Europe's workplaces is the goal of EU-OSHA, to provide key information so that the risks to workers health and safety are prevented. This objective is achieved by having a national focal point for each Member State that manages a network made up of worker, employer, and governmental representatives. In Bucharest on 19 July 2012, the Romanian Network met to hear about and discuss the work of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.

How should we work together across the European Union, to protect people at work from injury and ill health? Now is the time to be thinking about this, as the EU Strategy on Health and Safety for 2007 to 2012 comes to an end, and we look both at what it has achieved, and what still needs to be done in the years ahead.

We recently got an indication of the European Commission’s thinking on these points, in a speech given by László Andor, the Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Speaking at a conference in Copenhagen, Commissioner Andor said that the EU needs a health and safety Strategy, and that a new Strategy after 2012 is justified.

Though it’s too early to tell whether the old Strategy has achieved its goal of reducing workplace accidents across the EU by 25%, according to Commissioner Andor the signs were that the accident rate would be significantly lower in 2012 than it was five years ago. The Strategy, Commissioner Andor said, had succeeded in providing a framework for co-ordinating health and safety across the EU, providing a clear sense of where we’re going.