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EU-Worker information and consultation: Commission starts consultations with the Social Partners on consolidation of three Directives (May 19, 2015)

The Commission is consulting  the EU level social partners (representatives of employers and employees) in order to obtain their views on the possible direction of European Union action aimed at strengthening the coherence and effectiveness of the existing EU legislation on worker information and consultation at national level. This legislation consists of three Directives respectively on collective redundancies, transfers of undertakings and a general framework for information and consultation of workers.

DE-REACH- Articles - Requirements for Producers, Importers and Distributors-BAuA brochure translated into EN (May 13, 2015)

In the case of articles, questions arise under the REACH Regulation about how to differentiate between the term article and the terms substance and mixture. In addition, companies that produce or supply articles have obligations to inform their recipients, who can be processors, distributors, users of articles or consumers. In certain cases, they also have obligations towards the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). This brochure provides information on the various obligations of producers, importers and suppliers of articles under the REACH Regulation and provides a number of answers to the question of when an object is a substance or a mixture and when it is an article.

For more information

EU-OSHA webpages about REACH and OSH

EU - ECHA workshop on the use of REACH/CLP information at industrial sites (May 12, 2015)

At a workshop held in Helsinki on 16-17 April 2015 stakeholders discussed how information generated through the REACH and CLP processes can be used to promote the safe use of chemicals at industrial sites. The objectives are to explore how the data generated by REACH and CLP can support companies in complying with their obligations under other legislations, how that use of information can be improved and how to increase the awareness of industrial users of chemicals on the REACH/CLP data. A case study has been developed for a hypothetical company dealing in a line  of  business that has obligations under the legislations  considered. The process  covers surface treatment of metals (electroplating). The case study was chosen to exemplify a typical process  that  utilise  chemicals  and  where  the  learnings  can  be  applied  to  a  wide  range  of industries.

Presentations included  a perspective of the Senior Labour Inspectors Committee (SLIC) CHEMEX on OSH/REACH interface issues with a focus on practical issues at the workplace by David Green (SLIC Chemex working Group)

For more information 

EU-OSHA information on REACH and CLP

Mutualia rewards the best pictures on Prevention of Occupational Safety Hazards (May 08, 2015)

Mutualia organises the 12th Edition of the Photography Contest on Prevention of Occupational Hazards.

The spirit of this competition is to highlight with photographs the prime importance of ​​Occupational Risk Prevention in all aspects: risk situations, good practice messages to workers, employers, youth, society in general. The ultimate goal of the contest is to raise awareness against workplace accidents and achieve together safer work environments.

Participation is free and open to everyone over 18 years, amateur or professional.

The competition has three awards:

• First prize: 1.200 €

• Second prize: 900 €

• Third prize: 600 €

Photographs must be original and should be sent (along with a fact sheet that can be found on the website of Mutualia) to

The deadline for submissions ends on May 31st 2015.

More Info about the contest

OSHwiki goes multilingual: Work-related skin diseases article in the spotlight (May 07, 2015)

This month we highlight the OSHwiki article ‘Work-related skin diseases’ available in both English and Hungarian, and with your help even more languages in the future. Skin diseases are among the top three registered occupational diseases in Europe. The article explains the various kinds of skin disorders workers may be at risk of, including those from exposure to chemical substances or those from exposure to extreme temperatures or radiation.

This entry also provides information on prevention. In order to prevent and treat skin disorders it is essential that workers and employers be aware of the risk factors in the workplace and ensure the application of appropriate safety and health measures. This includes implementation of workplace prevention plans tailored to each individual situation and use of proper protective equipment.

You can learn more about the risk factors, how to identify disorders and implement prevention measures by reading this month’s OSHwiki article in the spotlight, ‘Work-related skin diseases’. This is one of the growing number of articles in more than one language on the OSHwiki platform. If you think having articles in your own language would be useful, why not register as an OSHwiki contributor and share your own articles or translate others.

Read the OSHwiki entry

INT- IARC evaluation of five organophosphate pesticides (May 06, 2015)

A Working Group of 17 experts from 11 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization on 3–10 March 2015 to review the available published scientific evidence and evaluate the carcinogenicity of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides: diazinon, glyphosate, malathion, parathion, and tetrachlorvinphos.  A summary of the final evaluations together with a short rationale have now been published online in The Lancet Oncology, and the detailed assessments will be published as Volume 112 of the IARC Monographs.

The pesticides tetrachlorvinphos and parathion were classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B); for the insecticide malathion, there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and prostate cancer; for the insecticide diazinon, there was limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and lung cancer; for the herbicide glyphosate, there was limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Tetrachlorvinphos is banned in the European Union. In the USA, it continues to be used on livestock and companion animals, including in pet flea collars. Parathion use has been severely restricted since the 1980s. All authorized uses were cancelled in the EU and the USA by 2003. Malathion is currently used in agriculture, public health, and residential insect control. It continues to be produced in substantial volumes throughout the world. Workers may be exposed during the use and production of malathion. Diazinon has been applied in agriculture and for control of home and garden insects. Production volumes have been relatively low and decreased further after 2006 due to restrictions in the USA and the EU. Glyphosate currently has the highest global production volume of all herbicides. The largest use worldwide is in agriculture. The agricultural use of glyphosate has increased sharply since the development of crops that have been genetically modified to make them resistant to glyphosate. Glyphosate is also used in forestry, urban, and home applications.

For more information 


EU Agencies renew action to tackle migrant death crisis (Apr 29, 2015)

Key EU Agencies will coordinate urgent action to tackle the crisis of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean  following the EU summit in Brussels in 24 April.  
The EU’s agreed priority areas for action address the ever-increasing crisis in the Mediterranean following the most recent tragedies with the promise to step up both control and rescue operations. The plan calls on EU Agencies such as the EU’s law enforcement agency, (Europol), the EU borders agency, (Frontex), the European Asylum Support office (EASO) and the EU's Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust) to offer their assistance and expertise. Specifically, they should meet regularly and to work closely to gather information on smugglers, to trace their funds and to assist in their investigation in order to better tackle the smugglers who are exploiting those most at risk.
Eurofound, currently coordinating the network of EU Agencies, recognises the painful poignancy of this tragedy which partly emanates from a desire to attain the improved living and working conditions that is the core mandate of our Agency. A sentiment shared fully by EU-OSHA with its commitment to promoting safe and healthy working conditions as a basic human right. At the same time, the Fundamental Rights Agency, FRA has reiterated its call for a holistic, fundamental rights-oriented EU migration policy in order to save lives and combat the smugglers that seek to make financial gain out of the desperate situation of people in need of protection. All join in reconfirming their commitment to ensuring every effort is made to address this human crisis.

International SOS Foundation and Prevent: "Return on Prevention: Cost-benefit analysis of prevention measures for business travellers and international assignees” (Apr 28, 2015)

new study commissioned by the International SOS Foundation and published by Prevent reveals the benefits of implementing pre-travel health checks and malaria prevention measures for business travellers and international assignees.

The research shows how organisations who take measures to mitigate the health and travel security risks associated with business travel and international assignment are not only meeting their moral and legal responsibilities; they are also making a wise commercial investment.

“This study proves there are tangible commercial incentives to investing in preventive programmes, in addition to fulfilling an organisations duty of care. Implementing quality, appropriate pre-travel health and malaria programmes can save lives and cut costs. Businesses should not ignore these findings.” remarks Laurent Fourier, Director of the International SOS Foundation.

To determine how the benefits of implementing a travel health prevention strategy significantly outweigh the operating costs, two specific programmes have been analysed:

  • A medical check programme for travellers and international assignees aimed at identifying pre-existing medical issues before assigning employees to a foreign country to identify general and work-related health problems before the assignment begins. This analysis showed that $1 invested returns a benefit ranging from $1.6 (minimum scenario) to $2.53 (maximum scenario).
  • A malaria prevention programme aimed at employees travelling and working in malaria-risk regions. Employees are given information before departure and receive prophylaxis medication and other technical protection means such as mosquito-nets, insecticide sprays and repellents as well as a malaria curative kit. This programme reduced the occurrence of fatal cases by 70%. The benefits also outweigh the costs in the case of this programme: For each $1 invested, the return was estimated at $1.32.


Find out more about this or any International SOS Foundation research initiatives


Watch live the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards ceremony (Apr 27, 2015)

Watch live the Healthy Workplaces Good Practice Awards ceremony, to be held at the Latvian Presidency Conference on Occupational Safety and Health in Riga.

NL - Statistics on Occupational Diseases 2014 (Apr 24, 2015)

'Statistics on Occupational Diseases 2014' is a report compiled by the Netherlands Center for Occupational Diseases (NCvB) and commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW). The report aims to provide an overview of the incidence of occupational diseases and their distribution within the sectors and occupations in the Netherlands in 2013. In addition to statistical data, the report also includes a description of the scientific and social developments relating to the various categories of occupational diseases.


Find out more

6th Resilience Engineering Symposium – Lisbon 22th - 25th June 2015 (Apr 22, 2015)

Resilience Engineering Association (REA) organises the 6th edition of the Symposium on Resilience Engineering. The event will take place in Lisbon from 22th to 25th June to exchange knowledge about Managing resilience and learning to be adaptable and proactive in an unpredictable world.

Prior to the Symposium, a special day will be organized for young talents (master and PhD students) working in the area of resilience engineering. On this day, students will have the opportunity to present their work to experienced faculty.

Find out more about the Symposium

Paris - Expert workshop on e-tools - Summary (Apr 21, 2015)

The Expert workshop on e-tools organised in October 2014 in Paris was a one day event coodinated by EU-OSHA to discuss about “e-tools” and their implementation in the field of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH).

The evolution of computer technology and Web use practices explains the development of more and more online interactive tools (“e-tools”) and the occupational health and safety sector is no stranger to this trend/evolution. Many OSH actors have already shown interest in the possibilities offered by new technologies and have over the last years developed such e-tools. These tools are mainly developed with the aim to facilitate compliance with legislation or foster a health and safety culture.

The Summary of this workshop is available now

You can also read and share the presentation via Slideshare

NL - TNO Summary “Overview of Dutch working conditions 2014” (Apr 21, 2015)

The research organisation TNO brings out “Overview of Dutch working conditions 2014”. The summary, about the findings presented in the Arbobalans 2014, is organised around the following themes: description of the Dutch working population, key figures on the quality of the work, sickness absence, accidents at work and occupational diseases, psychosocial working conditions, preventive policy and sustainable employability.

Read the summary in English now 

Call for entries - DOK Leipzig Documentary Film Festival 2015 (Apr 16, 2015)

The 58th edition of the DOK Leipzig Documentary film Festival will take place this year from October 26th to November 1st.

As every  year,  EU-OSHA collaborates in this festival presenting the Healthy Workplaces Film Award, a prize that honours the best documentary film on work-related topics with a 5.000€ reward and the production of 1,000 DVDs including subtitles in a selection of European languages. 

You can submit your documentaries, animation and animated documentaries and for the first time interactive projects on the Dok Leipzig Website from 16th April to 13th July.

Find out more about EU-OSHA´s Healthy Workplaces Film Award 2015.

Managing psychosocial risks in the private security sector (Apr 16, 2015)

The private security sector can sometimes be a dangerous line of work. People employed in this field are regularly exposed to psychosocial risks. These can include third party violence, job insecurity, and strenuous mental and emotional workloads. But tools exist to help employers minimise risks and keep their staff healthy and motivated. By identifying psychosocial risks and implementing measures to tackle stress, employers of private security staff will be able to reduce costs, prevent absenteeism, and avoid dips in productivity. The private security sector is growing. Companies and governments are increasingly subcontracting their security services and private security staff are employed to provide protection to their clients. This often means protecting buildings and businesses from theft or burglary, both during and after business hours.

It also means closely monitoring surveillance cameras, patrolling premises, or even being assigned to protect particular individuals. Each role involves different pressures relating to emotional and mental workloads. Those responsible for public or national security, such as airport security staff may face even greater job pressure.

The sector can be a pitfall for stress stemming from a myriad of psychosocial risks, according to a training manual on preventing occupational hazards in the private security sector prepared by the Confederation of European Security Services (COESS), together with the trade union UNI Europa. Firstly, competition for contracts in the sector is quite high, with staff often unaware if they will be kept on or not when a contract is reallocated. This lack of job security is a key source of stress. Another key pressure is monotony, especially for staff working nights or alone. Drowsiness and mental exhaustion resulting from the need to remain alert and vigilant for long hours can compromise a worker’s ability to react – and thus the safety of themselves and those they are hired to protect.

Ambiguous roles are another psychosocial risk typical of the sector. Private security staff normally don’t have authority beyond that of an ordinary citizen, yet in many cases they are put into the compromising position of being asked by employers or clients to take on the authority usually reserved for law enforcement. In addition to this, feelings of fear, confrontational work situations, risk of assault, and, in some cases, previous traumatic experiences are also serious issues.

Fortunately, there is a tailored Online Interactive Risk Assessment tool available to help private security workers and their employers assess and deal with occupational safety and health risks and particularly, with psychosocial ones. Developed by EU social partners, once adapted to each country, private security companies could use the tool to identify risks for their staff by getting them to think about what psychosocial pressures they will face or whether employees have received proper training.

Once risks have been identified the tool directs users to control and prevention measures and implementation assistance, and ultimately suggests solutions that can be tailored to the company. Some sample solutions include implementing a stress prevention policy and the provision of training for employees to help them better manage their mental and emotional workload.

By following best practice and enacting the necessary preventative measures, private security companies can do much to mitigate psychosocial risks. With the correct workplace design, training programmes and support network staff are more likely to remain healthy and motivated. This will in turn result in a safer and more productive work environment which is good for staff, companies and customers.

You can find out more about this and other Online interactive Risk Assessment tools (OiRA) online, or visit the campaign website to access other practical tools designed to manage stress and psychosocial risks in the workplace.

Campaign in France combines efforts to tackle psychosocial risks (Apr 10, 2015)

This week we turn to France as we take a look at the situation concerning psychosocial risks and workplace stress in Europe’s third largest economy. A few years back in 2008, following an unfortunate wave of high profile work-related suicides, health at work quickly became a hot topic in the country. Everyone from top management to occupational physicians realised that action needed to be taken.


ICOH - 31st International Congress on Occupational Health (Mar 30, 2015)

The 31st International Congress on Occupational Health will be held in Seoul from 31 May to 5 June 2015.  Organized as the triennial congress of the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH), will be an important milestone in meeting challenges, protecting and promoting the health of workers at the time of rapid changes in work life and working conditions in globalizing economy.

EU-OSHA will have a stand in the Exhibition area to promote key projects, such as OiRA, OSHwiki and Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress campaign. Director Christa Sedlatschek will take part in the Opening Ceremony of the Congress and the Asian Policy Forum to strengthen international collaboration in occupational safety and health. 

More information on the event

On-line registration available now

Insights into psychosocial risks presented at international expert’s conference in Vienna (Mar 27, 2015)

EU-OSHA Director Dr Christa Sedlatschek was recently on hand to welcome participants to an international expert’s conference in Vienna, Austria. The event was co-organised by the federal Austrian Chamber of Labour together with its regional partner AK, in Upper Austria. It was an opportunity to present research results from various organisations that have recently carried out their own studies into occupational safety and health, specifically around psychosocial risks and occupational stress.
 Insights into psychosocial risks presented at international expert’s conference in Vienna
EU-OSHA Director Sedlatshek with high-level panellists in Vienna. 

Calls for proposals published by DG Employment (Mar 24, 2015)

Beginning of March DG Employment published two new calls for proposals. One addressed to sectoral social dialogue and one focusing on support for workers' organisations. Both include health and safety at work as a possible area for activities.

See here for more information

Consult our OiRA funding guide for getting advice on successful applications

Conclusions of the 3rd Greek Occupational Health and Safety Conference (Mar 23, 2015)

Held in Athens on February 26th 2015, the Conference brought together representatives from many companies and organisations such as Greek Institute of Health and Safety at work, Nestle, Coca Cola, Unilever, Athenian Brewery and Hellenic Quality Foods.

The meeting, organized in four sections, covered the following occupational safety and health main topics:

  • Towards a healthier, safer and more productive working environment.
  • Recommended practices for "zero" working accidents and minimization of diseases.
  • Risk assessment, formulating safe and hygienic working environments with the participation of all concerned. Training and the creation of a "prevention" culture.
  • Challenges and opportunities for OHS in today's continuously changing working environments.

Conclusions of the Conference available here