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Healthy Workplaces Campaigns

Running since 2000, the Healthy Workplaces Campaigns (formerly known as “European Weeks for Safety and Health at Work”) are one of EU-OSHA’s principal tools for raising awareness of issues related to occupational safety and health, and promoting the idea that good health and safety is good for business.

The campaigns are now the largest of their kind in the world.

The campaigns, each of which is now two years in duration, involve hundreds of organisations from all of the EU Member States, the countries of the European Economic Area, candidate and potential candidate countries. EU-OSHA makes information, practical guides and tools, and publicity material freely available, translated into more than 20 European languages. EU-OSHA also provides support for businesses and other bodies who want to organise awareness-raising events.

The annual European Week for Safety and Health at Work (in October every year) is a particular focus for these events, which can include training sessions, conferences and workshops, poster, film and photo competitions, quizzes, suggestion schemes, advertising campaigns and press conferences. Other highlights of each campaign include the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards competition, which recognises organisations that have found innovative ways of promoting safety and health, and the Healthy Workplaces Closing Summits, which bring health and safety professionals, policymakers, and employers’ and employees’ representatives together, to share best practice.

The campaigns have seen increasing levels of involvement since they began. EU-OSHA works with a wide range of partners, to help get campaign messages into Europe’s workplaces. We work especially with our network of national focal points, which are generally the occupational health and safety authorities in each EU Member State. We also work closely with the Enterprise Europe Network, which provides advice and support on a range of issues to Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises.

EU-OSHA also encourages pan-European and international organisations to become official campaign partners, and commit themselves to promoting campaign messages internally and through their supply chains. Recent campaigns have seen record numbers of organisations signing up.

EU-OSHA releases online guide to OSH Campaigning

EU-OSHA’s new ‘Online OSH Campaign Toolkit’ provides practical advice on how to prepare and run successful OSH campaigns and features practical examples of various communications tools with tips and tricks to their use.

Access the OSH campaign toolkit

healthy workplaces campaign 2014

2014 - 2015: Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress

Stress is the second most frequently reported work related health problem in Europe and, along with other psychosocial risks, is thought to account for more than half (50–60 %) of all lost working days. A poor psychosocial work environment can have significant negative effects on workers' health.

Psychosocial risks occur in every workplace, but even with only limited resources they can be successfully assessed and managed. This campaign provides support and guidance for workers and employers in managing work-related stress and psychosocial risks, and promotes the use of practical, user friendly tools to facilitate this.

healthy workplaces campaign 2012

2012 - 2013: Working together for risk prevention

The Agency’s campaign for 2012-2013 focuses on risk prevention. In simple terms, prevention is about managing work-related risks with the ultimate aim of reducing the number of work-related accidents and occupational illnesses.

Final responsibility for managing risk lies with employers and top management, but their efforts are bound to fail without active worker participation.

For these reasons, this campaign places special emphasis on the importance of leadership by top management and owners working in tandem with active worker participation.


2010 - 2011: Safe Maintenance

Maintenance is a very common activity: it affects every workplace, in every industry sector, and it concerns everyone at every level (not just workers with ‘maintenance’ in their job description). This campaign emphasised the importance of safe maintenance as being at the heart of good health and safety working practice.

And while the specific details vary between industry sectors (depending on the specific types of machinery that are used, for example), it identified principles that are common to proper maintenance, in all of Europe’s different workplaces.

Campaigns objectives:

  • Raise awareness of the importance of maintenance for workers’ safety and health, of the risks associated with maintenance, and of the need to carry it out safely;
  • Raise awareness of employers’ legal and other responsibilities to carry out safe maintenance, and of the business case for doing so;
  • Promote a simple, structured approach to OSH management in maintenance, based on an appropriate risk assessment (the ‘five basic rules’).

The ultimate aim, of course, is to help to reduce the number of people who are being hurt or are experiencing ill health as a result of inadequate maintenance or lack of maintenance, now and in the future.

More information:


2008 - 2009: Risk assessment

Risk assessment is the cornerstone of health and safety management in the workplace.

The overall aim of this campaign was to promote an integrated management approach to risk assessment, helping organisations to carry it out systematically, and act on its results.

It sought to raise awareness of the legal obligations that employers have to carry out risk assessments, but also to demystify the risk assessment process; risk assessment is not necessarily complicated, bureaucratic or a task only for experts. It advocated a simple, step-by-step approach, and also one in which the workforce is consulted and involved.

Our Online interactive Risk Assessment tool (OiRA) is the legacy of this campaign and can be seen as the 21st century solution to the challenge of promoting occupational safety and health to micro and small enterprises. The OiRA project has the potential to help many thousands of small companies across the EU to carry out risk assessments in a simple and cost-effective way.

More information:

2007 - 2008: The Healthy Workplace Initiative

The Healthy Workplace Initiative aimed to provide employers and workers at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with easy access to information on how to make their workplaces safer, healthier and more productive.

It ran in 12 European Member States: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania as well as Turkey and Croatia.

The campaign targeted SMEs with the message: "Health and Safety is everyone's concern. It's good for you. It's good for businesses!'.

More information:

2007: Lighten the load (Musculoskeletal disorders)

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), affecting the body’s muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves, are the biggest cause of absence from work in practically all of the EU Member States.

This campaign sought to promote an integrated management approach to this problem, emphasising the idea that employers, employees and government should work together to tackle MSDs.

It emphasised the concept of ‘managing the load’: considering not just the load being carried, for example, but all of the strains being put on the body by environmental factors, and the pace at which the task is carried out.

It also stressed the importance of managing the retention, rehabilitation and return to work of those who suffer, or have suffered, from MSDs.

More information:

2006: Safe start - Young workers

This campaign was dedicated to ensuring that young people have a safe and healthy start to their working lives.

Young people are particularly vulnerable in work environments, where there is often inadequate occupational safety and health provision for them.

Many of the accidents and health problems that affect young workers are preventable, however, and young people are receptive to information regarding workplace health and safety, and will act to protect themselves when they know about potential hazards.

This campaign involved promoting risk awareness among young people and employers in the workplace, and also in schools and colleges: trying to reach young people at an early age, to instil in them a culture of risk prevention.

More information:


2005: Stop that noise!

Tens of millions of employees in Europe are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of noise for at least a quarter of their time at work, and it is not just workers in industries such as construction or manufacturing who are at risk.

Noise can be a problem in many working environments, from factories to farms, call centres to concert halls.

This campaign focused on the issue of managing noise at work, with the tagline ‘Noise at work – it can cost you more than your hearing’.

More information:

2004: Building in safety

Construction is one of Europe’s largest industries.

Unfortunately, it also has one of the worst occupational safety and health records, a problem that costs businesses and tax payers billions of Euros each year, over and above the appalling human suffering that it causes.

This campaign was designed to helping all stakeholders in the industry to build a safer, healthier and more productive working environment.

More information:

2003: Dangerous substances - Handle with care

Across Europe, millions of employees are exposed to dangerous substances in their workplaces, and failure to control the associated risks can harm people’s health in many different ways.

European legislation sets out the obligations of employers to manage such risks, and a huge amount of guidance for employers and workers is available, but it needs to be acted on if it is to protect workers’ health.

A key aim of this campaign was to raise awareness of the risks, and to stimulate action to reduce the health risks of using dangerous substances.

More information:

2002: Working on stress

Stress is responsible for millions of lost working days every year.

Far too many victims suffer in silence and too many companies do not realise the extent to which stress harms their business performance.

This campaign focused on the prevention and management of stress in the workplace.

More information:

2001: Success is no accident

Every year thousands of people are killed in workplace accidents across the European Union, and there are millions of accidents that result in absences from work of more than three days.

The problem is particul!-arly acute in small and medium-sized enterprises.

This campaign focused on the prevention of work-related accidents.

More information:

2000: Turn your back on musculoskeletal disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the most common work-related ailments, affecting millions of European workers across all employment sectors, at a cost of billions of Euros to employers.

However, much of the problem could be prevented or reduced by following existing health and safety regulations and guidance on good practice.

The first of EU-OSHA’s campaigns focused on the effective management of the risks of MSDs.

More information:

More information:

European SLIC campaigns

European SLIC Campaigns by SLIC (Committee of Senior Labour Inspectors):