Exposure to dangerous substances is much more common in Europe’s workplaces than most people imagine. Dangerous substances at work can cause a wide range of health problems and diseases, as well as posing safety risks. The 2018-19 campaign aims to raise awareness of the risks posed by dangerous substances in the workplace and to promote a culture of risk prevention.
- To raise awareness of the importance of preventing risks from dangerous substances, helping to dispel common misunderstandings.
- To promote risk assessment by providing information on practical tools and creating opportunities to share good practices, focusing specifically on:
- eliminating or substituting dangerous substances in the workplace
- the hierarchy of prevention measures (i.e. following the hierarchy outlined in legislation so that the most effective type of measure is always selected).
- To heighten awareness of risks linked to exposures to carcinogens at work by supporting the exchange of good practices; EU-OSHA is a signatory to the covenant committing to the EU Carcinogens Roadmap.
- To target groups of workers with specific needs and higher levels of risks by providing tailored information as well as examples of good practices. The risks might be higher because these workers are inexperienced, uninformed or physically more vulnerable, or because they frequently change jobs, or work in sectors where awareness of the issue is low, or because of a higher or different physiological sensitivity (e.g. in young apprentices, or differences between men and women).
- To increase knowledge of the legislative framework that is already in place to protect workers, as well as highlighting policy developments.
Despite a great deal of legislation aimed at protecting workers from dangerous substances, they continue to pose major workplace safety and health risks. Large numbers of people in the European Union are exposed to dangerous substances at work. Furthermore, because the dangers are often not visible or not well understood — they might be caused by fumes or dust, or exposures might happen accidentally — they may not be properly addressed. Often, action isn’t taken until it’s too late.
By working together, management and workers can build a strong risk prevention culture in which substitution is part of prevention and protection routines. A complete risk assessment is a key step in the process.
Some key dates of the campaign are:
- EU partnership meeting: March 2018
- Campaign launch and Launch of Good practice Awards: April 2018
- European Week for Safety and Health at Work: October 2018
- Healthy Workplaces Film Award: November 2018
- Good Practice Exchange event: 2nd quarter 2019
- European Week for Safety and Health at Work: October 2019
- Healthy Workplaces Film Award: November 2019
- Healthy Workplaces Summit and Good Practice Awards Ceremony: November 2019
Who can take part? How can you get involved?
Anyone who is interested in workplace safety and health is more than welcome to take part. In particular, we encourage the following groups to lend their voices to the campaign:
- EU-OSHA’s focal points and their networks;
- social partners (European and national);
- sectoral social dialogue committees;
- policy-makers (European and national);
- large enterprises, sectoral federations and associations of SMEs;
- European institutions and their networks (Enterprise Europe Network);
- European non-governmental organisations;
- OSH professionals and their associations;
- the OSH research community;
- labour inspectorates and their associations;
- the media.
There are all sorts of ways in which you can get involved. For example, you (or your organisation) could:
- raise awareness by circulating the campaign materials;
- organise events and activities;
- use and promote the practical tools;
- become an official campaign partner;
- visit the campaign website and follow the campaign hashtag #EUhealthyworkplaces on social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).
You can find a great selection of resources on the dedicated campaign website at www.healthy-workplaces.eu, including:
- a comprehensive campaign guide;
- series of info sheets on priority topics;
- a practical e-tool offering guidance on managing dangerous substances at work;
- a database containing case studies, tools and other good practice materials;
- presentations, posters, leaflet and infographics that can be used to promote the campaign;
- the campaign toolkit to support you in your campaign activities;
- database of audio-visual material for awareness-raising and animated videos featuring Napo;
- helpful links.