IPA FOP representatives and EU OSHA IPA project manager

Following 2 years of traveling restrictions due to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, on 25 and 26 May 2022, IPA Focal Point representatives from Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Türkiye eventually were able to travel to Bilbao to attend as observer at the EU-OSHA Focal point meeting. This possibility was provided to the IPA beneficiaries within the aim of the EC funded IPA Action 2020-2022.

On 25 May 2022, following a plenary welcome, the FOP managers had the possibility to receive the latest OSH knowledge and participate to groups discussion on the "Circular Economy", "Psychosocial Risks", "Supporting Compliance", "ESENER", "the next HWC on Digitalisation", "OSH Barometer", "Healthcare" and "OSH Research".

On 26 May 2022, the Agency Interim Executive Director, Heads of Unit and project managers reported on the latest Agency OSH work programme, including the current HWC "Lighten the Load", the FAST scheme and on the 2022 work plan on "Biomonitoring tasks". The meeting continued with an update from the European Commission representative on the EU OSH strategy, with specific reference to the EU Strategic Framework 2021-2027, as well as from French, Czech and Swedish representatives on the EU Presidency programmes.

The Focal point meeting was a great opportunity for IPA representatives to exchange updates on the national OSH developments and to plan ahead the future IPA actions.

Within the scope of the EC funded IPA Action 2020-2022, on 28 April 2022, EU OSHA supported the Macedonian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the National Occupational Safety and Health Council and the ILO in enhancing awareness raising to mark the World OSH Day. The main activities included an OSH conference, OSH award ceremonies and a tree planting commemorating the Worker Memorial Day (a tree was planted for every death at work).

At the OSH conference, the Minister of Labour underlined the importance of OSH and that the current Macedonian performance in OSH is not good enough because OSH challenges are not addressed with enough efforts. The round table that followed concluded that the Macedonian Legislation is well aligned with ILO Conventions on Construction (167), Mining (176), and Agriculture (184), but there is a lack in the legislative implementation, which is causing the poor OSH performance of North Macedonia.

EU OSHA contributed to enhance OSH knowledge on social dialogue.

The conference was followed by the awards ceremonies. The focus of the good practice awards was on enterprises where worker engagement had been part of the process. Following the enterprise awards, the awards for the young person writing competitions were given out.

Finally, the ceremony of tree plantation ended the event.

With the occasion to mark the World OSH Day of 28 April 2022 and within the scope of the EC funded IPA Action 2020-2022, the Ministry of Labour of Serbia invited EU-OSHA to enhance OSH awareness raising and knowledge sharing for OSH stakeholders. Following the conclusion of the OSH award conference (see information on the related blog article below), EU-OSHA introduced the topic of “Teleworking and avoiding too much sitting” to an audience of around 30 participants representing national enterprises, University professors and University students.

Following the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the implementation of health restrictions, teleworking became more frequent as many workers could continue to carry on work from home. Although home-based teleworking has potential advantages, it could also be detrimental to teleworkers' health and contribute to the development or exacerbation of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), as well as to pain, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular complaints, certain types of cancers, premature death. 

Currently, not all EUMS regulate in detail teleworking. There are pending issues as the obligation deriving from the Framework Directive (89/391/EC) to how best implement individual Risk Assessment for each teleworker.

Overall, as human bodies are designed for movement, the presentation provided to the audience important tips on how to tackle the main work-related MSD risk factors related to teleworking, such as workstation ergonomic and body postures, work environment factors, sedentary behaviour and physical (in)activity, work organisation factors and psychosocial risk factors.

The contents of the presentation are available on the here.

On 28 April 2022, the Ministry of Labour of Serbia organised an OSH ceremony to mark the World OSH Day and with the occasion awarded the best OSH civil society representatives.

The Minister of Labour, the director of the OSH directorate within the Ministry of Labour and ILO awarded respectively the best national companies implementing OSH practices (with a voucher for the purchase of ICT equipment), best OSH Universities' professors (with an OSH certificate) and highest ranked Universities' students in terms of OSH curricula (with a voucher to finance their studies).

The EU-OSHA IPA project manager attended at the ceremony to reinforce the visibility of the Agency vis-à-vis the scope of the EC funded IPA Action 2020-2022, which aims at supporting IPA beneficiaries in their effective participation in the activities of EU-OSHA upon accession.