29/10/2012

Getting on top of work - through leadership and worker participation

Tim Tregenza

Where should EU-OSHA promote its Healthy Workplaces Campaign on prevention in Sweden? At "Gilla Jobbet", a two-day conference held at Stockholm International Fair. 

With the English title of "on top of work", AFA Insurance and Prevent Sweden hosted on 24th and 25th October a major fair on all aspects of the work environment and working life.

In a packed meeting room, over 100 OSH professionals, worker safety representatives and other stakeholders discussed the challenges of prevention. The seminar took the form of a discussion, moderated by Pontus Holmgren, with Tim Tregenza from EU-OSHA and Jennie Karlsson from the Swedish Work Environment Authority providing expert input. The theme of the campaign and this seminar was well-timed as Sweden in 2012 is celebrating 100 years of worker Safety Delegates.

The scale of the challenge faced in Europe and Sweden was not underestimated, with over 5000 people killed in accidents in Europe each year, and 61 people killed in Sweden last year - in addition to the 13 447 accidents and incidents reported to the Work Environment Authority and the 92 000 accidents notified to Swedish Social Insurance.

In the engaged and spirited discussion, two particular themes emerged. The first was concern over psychosocial issues such as work-related stress, violence, and harassment. The second was the great challenge of how micro-enterprises can be supported in their efforts at prevention.

On this latter point, the Agency's online, interactive risk-assessment tool (OiRA) was flagged up as one approach to support these micro-enterprises with the recognition that the best way to get to micro-enterprises was the use of intermediaries such as social partners or the labour inspectorate.