Two comprehensive sectoral good practice guides on occupational safety and health are now available for download in over 20 languages. Published by the European Commission, they cover agriculture, livestock farming, horticulture and forestry; and small fishing vessels (which make up 80 % of the EU’s fishing fleet). Packed with examples of good practices for risk prevention, real-life case studies and practical resources, they are excellent guides to keeping workers in these sectors safe from harm. The guides are a user-friendly reference with glossaries, illustrations and charts.
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An EU-OSHA foresight project is looking at the potential impact on OSH of rapid developments in information and communication technologies (ICT), including artificial intelligence and robotics, and the resulting impact on occupational safety and health (OSH). This project aims to provide EU decision-makers, Member State governments, trade unions and employers with the information they need on changes in ICT, their impact on the nature and location of work, and the emerging challenges to OSH that they may bring.
The project comprises three work packages:
- Work Package 1 aims to identify key trends and drivers that could lead to new and emerging OSH risks associated with ICT and changes in work location.
- Based on the key trends and drivers from Work Package 1, Work Package 2 aims to develop possible and plausible scenarios for what workplaces will be like in 2025, to illustrate the future OSH challenges associated with developments in ICT and work location.
- Work Package 3 aims at promoting the findings of the project using the scenarios developed in Work Package 2 to explore with policy-makers possible strategies to address the OSH challenges identified in the scenarios.
These activities should contribute to ensuring safe and healthy workplaces in the future, in line with smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the EU.
Follow-up studies look further at important areas and challenges highlighted by the project.
One of EU-OSHA’s key objectives is the identification and provision of credible, high-quality data of these new and emerging occupational safety and health (OSH) risks that meet the needs of policy-makers and researchers and allow them to take timely and effective action.
To this end, EU-OSHA’s European Risk Observatory gathers and examines data, drawing on research and expert consultations, on trends and underlying factors having an impact on workplaces and workers’ safety and health. It produces discussion papers, reports, summaries and visualisations targeted at policy-makers, social partners, researchers and workplace intermediaries at the EU and national level to provide them with the information and tools necessary to address the identified new and emerging challenges effectively.
The ultimate aim is to raise awareness of how changes of all kinds — technological, societal, political and economic — are likely to affect the safety and health of Europe’s workers, as well to encourage timely prevention of future OSH challenges in order to ensure safe and healthy workplaces of tomorrow.
Identifying emerging risks
EU-OSHA has been running a series of foresight projects intended to evaluate the possible effects of new technologies, new ways of working and societal change on workers’ safety and health. The projects aim not only to identify new risks as they emerge, but also to anticipate changes that could have an impact on workplace safety and health.
EU-OSHA’s foresight projects draw on a variety of methods, including literature reviews, consultation with experts and scenario-building. EU-OSHA organises workshops to gather knowledge, help promote the results and stimulate debate.
This programme of work is intended to inform policy-making and help set priorities for action and research. Foresight studies can have a significant impact on policy; for example, they can help policy-makers to arrive at innovative solutions and they encourage a long-term strategic approach.
Expert discussion papers
EU-OSHA publishes expert review papers to provoke debate on the future of work and on emerging issues in workplace safety and health among OSH experts and policy-makers throughout the EU. The conclusions reached in these papers often suggest areas for further research or action.
- 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:
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.