Healthy Workplaces Campaigns

The Healthy Workplaces Campaigns are our flagship awareness-raising activity. They are the main way of getting our message to workplaces across Europe.

The Healthy Workplaces Campaigns' message is — Safety and health at work is everyone's concern. It's good for you. It's good for business. We help you to promote it by making practical guides and tools freely available. Each campaign also features the Good Practice Awards and the Healthy Workplaces Film Award.

The campaigns are now the largest of their kind in the world. Why not join us and use our online OSH Campaign Toolkit to run your own campaign?

The Healthy Workplaces Campaigns have been running since 2000, formerly under the title ‘European Weeks for Safety and Health at Work’.

Find out more about the campaigns below.

2020 - 2022: Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load

The 2020-22 campaign focuses on the prevention of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). 

MSDs continue to be one of the most prevalent type of work-related health problem in Europe.

Posture-related risks, exposure to repetitive movements or to tiring or painful positions, carrying or moving heavy loads — all of these very common workplace risk factors can cause MSDs. Given how widespread work-related MSDs are, it’s clear that more needs to be done to raise awareness of how they can be prevented.

The campaign takes a comprehensive view of the causes of this persistent problem. It aims to disseminate high-quality information on the subject, encourages an integrated approach to managing the problem, and offers practical tools and solutions that can help at workplace level. 

Learn more about work-related musculoskeletal disorders

2018 – 2019: Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances

Exposure to dangerous substances is much more common in Europe’s workplaces than most people imagine and more must be done to protect workers from such hazards. The 2018-19 Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances campaign aimed to raise awareness of dangerous substances in the workplace and the risks they pose, and to create a culture of prevention by disseminating campaign materials and carrying out promotional and engagement activities. It generated a knowledge base on how to effectively manage dangerous substances, including information on the existing legal and policy framework, good practice solutions, tools and instruments, and ideas for successful communication and awareness-raising actions.

Specific highlights of the campaign were attributed to vulnerable groups, substitution and carcinogens and work-related cancer, which accounts for the highest proportion of fatal occupational diseases in the EU. As one of the legacies of the campaign, EU-OSHA continues to be an active partner of the Roadmap on carcinogens, a European action scheme to reduce such exposure.

Learn more about safe management of dangerous substances at work

2016 - 2017: Healthy Workplaces for All Ages

The Healthy Workplaces for All Ages campaign promoted the importance of sustainable work — that is, safe and healthy working conditions from the start to the end of a person’s life. With Europe’s workforce ageing and retirement ages rising, it is becoming ever more important that working conditions are safe, healthy and fair. This will enable people to work for longer and retire in good health.
The campaign highlighted ways of managing OSH in the context of an ageing workforce and encouraged the exchange of information and good practices. Demographic change affects most workplaces in Europe. However, by introducing measures to ensure that work is sustainable, enterprises and organisations can minimise negative effects and increase productivity, making work safer and healthier for everyone. 

 Learn more about ageing and occupational safety and health

2014 - 2015: Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress

 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 provided support and guidance for workers and employers in managing work-related stress and psychosocial risks, and promoted the use of practical, user friendly tools to facilitate this.

 Learn more about psychosocial risks and stress at work

2012 - 2013: Working together for risk prevention

The Agency’s campaign for 2012-2013 focused 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 placed special emphasis on the importance of leadership by top management and owners working in tandem with active worker participation.

Learn more about leadership and 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, was 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!'.

Learn more about occupational safety and health in micro and small enterprises

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.

Learn more about work-related musculoskeletal disorders

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.

Learn more about young people and safety and health at work

2005: Stop that noise!

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’.

Learn more about the problems of noise from OSHwiki

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: OSHwiki

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.

Learn more about safe management of dangerous substances at work

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.

Learn more about psychosocial risks and stress at work

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 particularly acute in small and medium-sized enterprises.

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

Learn more about the topic from OSHwiki

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.

Learn more about work-related musculoskeletal disorders