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Emerging risks

Effective prevention of new and emerging risks requires up-to-date and reliable information.

To fulfill its mission, EU-OSHA requires intelligence concerning the emergence of new risks to occupational health and safety, and has been developing a work stream of research on these topics since the early 2000s.

The European Risk Observatory European Risk Observatory is in a unique position to analyse information on safety and health in workplaces across Europe and this allows for: Developing a pan-European 'helicopter' view of common trends and challenges. Anticipating change. Identifying potential new risks. This information allows researchers and practitioners to evaluate changes in technology and society and their likely impact on work. It also provides information for policy makers, individual Member States' governments, employers and social partners, to help them anticpate and take actions to mitigate risks. Such risks are defined as either previously unknown risks caused by social/technical change or scientific discovery, or an existing issue that is now considered as a risk due to changed public perceptions. They are rated as increasing if prevelance of hazards creating the risks is increasing, individual exposure to risks is increasing or the impact of the hazard on health is increasing.

Some of EU-OSHA's work has included a foresight study to advance our understanding of emerging risks, focusing on green jobs.

A new scoping study for a foresight of new and emerging OSH risks and challenges has been published and can be read in this report. This scoping exercise provided recommendations for possible topic(s) to be covered in a future study of this kind and advises on the most appropriate future methodologies to use. The study took into account the unpredictable changes in the nature of the work, was linked to the continued sconomic uncertainty as a result of the global financial crisis, and considered changes of a societal, political, economic and technologial nature.

More information on the monitoring of new and emerging risks can be found on our OSHwiki